What is Drowsiness?
What is Drowsiness? Drowsiness is a condition where a person feels like sleeping. This can happen at the wrong time, for example when working, while studying, or when driving. Drowsiness is usually characterized by fatigue, loss of consciousness, sleep, and can disrupt activity.
Drowsiness generally occurs due to lack of sleep. Everyone has different sleeping needs, depending on age and daily activities. Ideally, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per day, children up to teenagers need 9 hours, toddlers take 10-12 hours, and newborns take 16-18 hours.
Although it seems simple, drowsiness can lead to problems, such as interrupting performance and productivity at school, college, or office, affecting one’s emotions, interfering with social interaction, and the most fatal is that it can cause accidents on both the road and workplace.
The Cause of Drowsiness
Drowsiness can be caused by several things, including:
- Long working hours or working with a shift system that requires to work at night.
- Too much caffeine (coffee, tea, drugs) and nicotine from cigarettes.
- Side effects of asthma medications, high blood pressure (hypertension), and heart.
- Sleep disturbances such as sleep apnea, insomnia, or narcolepsy.
- High calcium content in the blood (hyperkalemia).
- Diabetes or underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism).
- Changes in blood sodium levels (hyponatremia or hypernatremia).
Drowsiness can be handled in several ways, depending on the particular condition that causes it. To confirm the cause, the doctor will perform an examination that includes a blood check, CT Scan on the head, electroencephalogram (EEG), urine test, and sleep studies.
Broadly speaking, drowsiness can be overcome in two ways, namely:
- Self treatment. Before performing treatment independently, we must know for sure what is the cause of drowsiness, that is whether because of stress, boredom, anxiety, or because of other underlying health problems. If in doubt, it is better to consult a doctor. Simple self-help can be done by changing sleep patterns and improving sleep quality.
- Medical treatment. Doctors may administer medications if the patient’s sleepiness is associated with a particular disease. The dose given will be adjusted to the patient’s condition. For example, doctors prescribe short-term medication to treat acute insomnia, and prescribe long-term medications to overcome certain sleep disorders.
Prevention of Drowsiness
Drowsiness can be prevented in several ways, including:
- Maintain sleep patterns. Adults generally need time to rest for eight hours to get refreshed the next day. If at any time the hours of sleep is reduced, sleep patterns will also be disturbed.
- Add hours of sleep. Adding hours of sleep at a later time can be done to replace less hours of sleep the previous day. However, this way can not replace the quality of sleep lost.
- Reduce night work habits. A person who often works at night is advised to reduce the habit to prevent drowsiness. If the habit is difficult to avoid, it is recommended to always work under bright lights at night.
- Eat caffeine and medication. Caffeine contained in coffee can relieve sleepiness while working at night, but its only temporary. To improve sleep quality, prescription medicines can also be used.
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