Sleepiness, causes and natural remedies

Sleepiness, causes and natural remedies

Sleepiness is a wake-up call that focuses on the quality of sleep and its physiology. All causes and natural remedies.


Somnolence is a state of psychophysical numbness , characterized by the difficulty of staying awake and by the need and desire to sleep. Its causes can be  physiological or pathological.
1. Definition of sleepiness

2. Causes of sleepiness

3. Sleep disorders

4. Drug-induced drowsiness

5.  Postprandial somnolence


“ Sleepiness can be defined as a basic physiological condition comparable to hunger and thirst, which emerges when our body needs to sleep. It can occur in many circumstances, especially as a tendency to fall asleep in the absence of psychosensory stimuli or in monotonous situations. In reality, somnolence represents a very specific condition, related to the reduction in the level of alertness, which manifests itself not only with the tendency to fall asleep but also with other symptoms, such as difficulties in storing and processing data, inability to maintain constant attention , slowdown in decision-making processes, worsening of motor performance“. (Dr. Sergio Garbarino – Department of Legal and Occupational Medicine, Section of Occupational Medicine, University of Genoa).

Sleepiness is not a disorder, but an effect of a disorder! This is why it is important to go in search of the cause.

Causes of Somnolence

The causes of sleepiness can be physiological or pathological. Physiological sleepiness is related to an excessive expenditure of energy during wakefulness, which is greater than the subject’s physiological resistance.

It can be a physical or mental fatigue , which prompts sleep compensation. On the other hand, drowsiness can also be caused by a lack of psychophysical stimuli, by a condition of laxity that “turns off” the attention, from simple boredom because the solicitations required by the subject’s mind are much more complex than those of his personal reality reserves for him.

On the other hand, there are much more serious causes that fall within the pathological sphere. Wrong lifestyles, side effects of certain drugs, sleep disturbances, post-prandial sleepiness, neurological pathologies are among the main causes of sleepiness.

Causes and natural remedies for fatigue

Sleep disorders

Sleep disturbances leave more or less heavy aftermath in the waking phase and drowsiness is one of the most typical effects, triggered by an insufficient or qualitatively deficient amount of sleep.

Dysomnia such as Phase Delay Syndrome (the subject defined as “chronotype owl” tends to withdraw late and find it difficult to wake up in the morning), Phase Advance Syndrome (the subject “chronotype owl” wakes up very early in the morning). morning), the Jet-Lag Syndrome (caused by changes in time zones for intercontinental travel) can cause disturbances in the wake phase, decreased concentration, drowsiness.

Real insomnia , in which sleep is deprived of its physiological time in a constant, chronic way, has its effects on lifestyle, daytime activities, degrees of attention and concentration, cognitive processes, and drowsiness becomes the primary condition in which the subject suffering from this disorder finds himself.

Drug-induced sleepiness

There are many drugs that induce sleep as a side effect or as an effect of being abused. Allergy remedies such as antihistamines can cause drowsiness, mental heaviness.

Life-saving drugs, indispensable, which must be administered daily in a constant manner can be the source of drowsiness. A wide range of psychotropic drugs has a hypno-inducing effect, both as a cure and as a side effect.

In these cases, subjects who have to undergo pharmacological treatments for disorders related to the psychic sphere must pay close attention to phenomena of drowsiness that can degenerate into narcolepsy, especially in activities such as driving means of transport.

Postprandial somnolence

The manifestation of drowsiness after meals is very common. It is due to digestive slowdowns, liver disorders and also hepatic encephalopathies. Mechanically, the blood in the digestive phase is recalled from the digestive system, subtracting it from other districts, including the brain, inducing drowsiness. A more careful diet, with meals eaten calmly and well chewed can safeguard against this phenomenon.

The intake of alcohol in addition to an unbalanced diet strains the liver: “a poor liver generates ammonia and cannot detoxify alcohol and can cause daytime sleepiness and poor quality sleep ” (Hepatology Review).

A study by the University of Padua and the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology in Zurich has shown the direct relationship between ammonia (amount of ammonia in the blood) and sleep: hyperammonemia is associated with an increased incidence of somnolence diurnal and sleep changes monitored through polysomnography.

The result of the research has elected the liver as the main organ that influences sleep and its quality and on which to work for a correct dietary re-education and a consequent sleep-wake balance. A compromised liver is unable to fully control the levels of ammonia in the blood and this dysfunction can lead to neurological disorders such as hepatic encephalopathy, a reversible disease: drowsiness is a wake-up call.

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