Why am I so sleepy: reasons and solutions

By Vladimir Marchenko

  1. Why am I sleepy all the time
  2. Drowsiness due to health problems
  3. Sleepiness due to stress and overwork
  4. Lack of air ventilation and other reasons for drowsiness
  5. How to overcome sleepiness

Constant sleepiness can be caused by a number of reasons - from malnutrition to serious diseases of internal organs. Each case needs to be considered individually, but there are general guidelines for you if you often complain “all I do is sleep!”

“Why am I sleepy all the time”

Can’t get your eyes open? Constant yawning and desire to take a nap not only bring inconvenience but also disrupt the usual work and rest routine and can even threaten life (e.g. you can fall asleep while driving). Drowsiness can be caused by both external factors, such as bad ventilation in the room, and internal ones, for example, diabetes. Often it is a combination of different reasons: overwork + exacerbation of chronic diseases + unhealthy diet, etc.

In large cities, excessive daytime sleepiness goes together with hectic daily routines, due to going to bed late after midnight and waking up at seven in the morning. As a result, people sleep for 6-7 hours, having only coffee for breakfast and a cigarette for dessert. By 10-11 o'clock in the afternoon, they experience a surge of strength and efficiency. However after, they have a heavy dinner usually consisting of simple carbohydrates like potatoes or sweets and as a result, the body spends too much energy on digesting the food and doesn’t have enough resources to boost brain activity. So, at 14-15 o'clock in the afternoon, people start to feel sleepy which coincides with the biologically natural desire to take a nap. The simplest way to overcome it is a new portion of coffee or a short afternoon nap. As a result, in the evening, you still can't fall asleep before midnight and the cycle repeats.

young woman sleep behind notebook
The most common reason for sleepiness in the workplace is physical inactivity. Productivity decreases after about an hour without moving

It should be noted that the neglection of daily routine and lack of sleep are the main causes of increased drowsiness, and studying, working late, caring for a child or relatives do not help with keeping yourself in shape. Sleepiness is not a disease but rather a signal from the body that it is struggling, and that’s why the following symptoms are often observed:

  • Heavy awakening in the morning;
  • Weight gain;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Lack of productivity;
  • The need for daytime sleep;
  • Irritability, anxiety;
  • Deterioration of concentration and memory.

Drowsiness due to health problems

It is much worse if a person seems to be fully resting and getting enough sleep, but he still experiences drowsiness in the middle of a working day. This may imply more serious health problems such as diabetes, thyroid pathology, congestive heart failure and many others. So in this case, drowsiness would be just a symptom.

In particular, during a progressive form of type 2 diabetes, the blood circulation around organs and tissues deteriorates and inflammatory processes begin. The brain also gets affected as, according to a “self-defence” mechanism, the body demands rest, that’s why a person would constantly want to sleep. At the same time, due to some other side effects such as dry mouth and the desire to drink more fluids, a person can wake up at night, sleep poorly and, as a result, suffer from drowsiness during the day. Physical activity, a balanced diet, and rest can help alleviate these symptoms. An endocrinologist can help with drawing up an individual plan.What can make you sleepy is also hypothyroidism, during which the synthesis of thyroid hormones decreases. This leads to a slow-down in the metabolic rate and, as a result, drowsiness. Often thyroid pathologies are accompanied by unexpected paradoxical symptoms such as weight gain in the absence of appetite or insomnia together with daytime sleepiness.

Before taking vitamins, it is advised to consult a doctor, as they will be able to draw a precise plan according to your personal vitamin deficiencies

Also, daytime drowsiness can be provoked by a deficiency of potassium, iron (during progressive anaemia) and other trace elements, by a lack of vitamins D or group B, physical inactivity, cervical osteochondrosis, bronchial asthma, high cholesterol levels, low haemoglobin levels in the blood, and many more.

Infectious diseases and inflammation processes also cause drowsiness. In this case, a person may not know that he is sick while, by means of sleep, the body sends signals about the occurring processes. That’s why it is important to pay attention to such signals as they can help you recover faster. Thus, health problems can be one of the possible answers to the question “Why do I sleep all day”.

Sleepiness due to stress and overwork

Fatigue and a desire to go to bed as soon as possible are frequent companions of stress and overwork, both physical and mental. During the initial stages, stress can manifest in a form of irritability and lack of sleep, but later the symptoms are transformed into a constant desire to sleep. The need for rest is infinite and is present all the time, both in the morning and in the afternoon. Potentially, depression may develop, which also contributes to the desire to dive into Morpheus’ Kingdom as soon as you have an opportunity to go to bed.

Drowsiness is also caused by chronic fatigue syndrome, which affects more than 2.5 million people in the United States alone. Another cause may be bipolar personality disorder or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). In this case, no matter how long a person sleeps he can’t feel a surge of energy and freshness. Only a specialist can diagnose such diseases.

One of the non-obvious reasons for drowsiness can be taking medications, including the ones with a sedative effect which are sometimes prescribed during stress and depression. This includes antidepressants, pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and antihistamines. Even though appropriate contraindications are usually indicated in the leaflet, they often go unnoticed and they are what makes you sleepy.

Lack of air ventilation and other reasons for drowsiness  

What causes excessive sleepiness during the day? For example, lack of fresh air in closed spaces (public transport office, bar, or mall). If the air is oversaturated with CO2 concentration and productivity decrease. If you are in such a microclimate day after day, there is a chance to earn migraines and insomnia. Therefore, the premises need to be ventilated, or you should go out for a walk at least once in a day; in extreme cases use air conditioning.

black woman sleep at work
When it is too hot indoors, a person cannot fall asleep due to overheating. Also, sleep is more likely to occur when the concentration of carbon dioxide increases

Hormonal imbalance usually manifests itselves in a form of changes in the appearance (weight gain, swollen lymph nodes, swelling, acne, etc.). Drowsiness in this case appears before all other symptoms. For women, it can be associated with menstrual disorders. During menstruation the secretion of estrogen and progesterone decreases, which causes apathy, irritability and the desire to “dive into a pillow”.

In the winter season, sleepiness becomes almost an obligatory attribute of every person. It is a natural response to having less daylight and vitamin deficiencies. In addition to the already mentioned intake of vitamins D and group B, you can switch to a more balanced diet that will be high in antioxidants. This includes fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, whole grains, and berries.

Apnea can be one of the less obvious reasons for sleepiness. During this disease breathing interruption lasting from several seconds to one minute are observed. Within an hour, such attacks can occur up to 30 times. At some point at night a person wakes up abruptly, which usually occurs during the phase of slow sleep, and, as a result, the quality of sleep suffers and drowsiness, headaches, and irritability can appear.

Low blood pressure can also make you feel sleepy. This usually happens when the pressure drops below 120/80.

How to overcome sleepiness

Since the desire to fall asleep most often is caused by a hectic daily routine, it is this aspect of life you need to start working on. The following tips will help with this:

  • follow the rules of healthy sleep: go to bed and wake up at about the same time, including weekdays and weekends. Also, do not stay up late using gadgets or watching active and irritating programs/movies;
  • Do morning exercises. Even a fast 15-minute warm-up will help you get into the rhythm of a new day much more efficiently;
  • Drink more fluids. However, do not consume too much coffee or soda, ordinary water is better;
  • In order to feel cheerful during the day, a fast walk, a quick warm-up or rhythmic dance are suitable;
  • Stay more in the sun and bright light, this will help you feel more energetic. The body perceives blackout as a signal to go to sleep;
  • Use special applications that improve the quality of sleep. For example, Hypnopedia app that contains a set of natural sounds for relaxation and smart alarm with for an adaptive fresh wake-up. In the app, you can also select affirmations that will be played while you sleep. They boost mental health and increase daily activity so that you can achieve your goals faster. In fact, it is like filling yourself with positive thoughts without any extra effort.
Ссылка App Store


So now you can at least partially answer the question “why am I sleepy”. It is important to remember that random episodes of sleepiness are completely normal and should not cause any concern. However, if the desire to fall asleep becomes obsessive and you experience drowsiness almost every day, it can be a reason to consult a specialist.

Hypnopedia Sleep Well-being Self-awareness