A Surprising Cause for Daytime Sleepiness

It is a challenge for college students with heavy course loads to stay awake past normal hours and it can also be hard for some to be awake regular hours without a nap in between. So what can be done?

sleepy

Recently my roommate has been feeling like she needs to sleep, but she also says that she does not feel tired. I experienced this before, along with an inability to see the board in the lecture halls (even from the middle rows). Turned out that I needed glasses and truth be told, most people probably need glasses without knowing it. It’s hard to believe that our sensory inputs are no longer accurate when your brain is so freakishly amazing at adapting to change. Did someone become nicer, tanner, smarter? It’s hard to tell if you see them every day, but if you take a break from that relationship and meet in a month or a year, you will notice a lot of changes in the people around you.

BeforeAfter

I’m not saying that sleepiness is only caused by a lack of vision correction, I’m saying that it’s not often pinpointed as the root of sleepiness or poor performance.

glasses

Aside from going to the optometrist and getting it taken care of, other ways to increase energy and promote productivity without correcting vision are:

1. Eating the right stuff: Plenty of fruits and veggies can go a long way! If you need help getting started look up Gina Heart on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube for some tips and a daily dose of positive energy.

fruits&veggies

2. Drinking water: Dehydration is not only dangerous it can also decrease your willingness to be active. Lack of liquid can cause fatigue and irritability.

Nowater

3. Sleeping enough! Duh…: This may seem obvious, but if you’re not getting enough sleep take a moment to point out why that is. Rearrange your schedule to allow enough hours of sleep, supplement with naps whenever 6-8 hours of sleep are not possible. (Refer to the “Warning” at the bottom of this blog post)

schedule

4. Supplementing with caffeine (If absolutely necessary): I say “if absolutely necessary” because taking caffeine to combat sleepiness will only make it more difficult to combat sleepiness naturally in the future. Caffeine will also disrupt your natural inner state and keep you from restful sleep or from sleeping altogether.

caffeine

5. Exercise: Exercise will increase your stamina in order to endure longer days, will increase circulation, encourage hydration and best of all it will help you fall asleep at bedtime and get more restorative sleep.

exercise

6. Changing how you think: Sometimes sleep is not an option. Let’s say there are 4 papers due at the end of the week and you have made it your challenge to not sleep. It actually is possible to get the task done with some willpower. It takes understanding the value that the tasks hold for you, knowing that the challenge can be overcome and that after the challenge has been surmounted there will be a brief reprieve (if you’re lucky).

mindset

7. Working on a laptop (attempt to avoid distractions): If you must be productive and need to be alert, work on a laptop with that glowy backlight. I sometimes use my laptop to wake up in the morning. I know that if I bask in the glorious warmth of the morning sun I will fall asleep again, but if I turn on my computer and let my eyes absorb the artificial trap of the internet then I can mentally refresh much faster and get on with the rest of my day.

CAM00106
My Think Penguin Laptop is now a Thin Penguin Laptop

8. Good posture and a straight-back chair + desk: One succumbs to sleep or distraction by looking around, slumping or resting an elbow on the desk and one’s face on the hand connected to said elbow.

NOT THIS
NOT THIS

9. Chewing gum: I’m not endorsing gum chewing as a hobby, but if the task ahead must be performed by a non-sleepwalker then chewing gum can keep the chewer awake. I have rarely fallen asleep while chewing gum and those rare times were probably lying down. And chewing gum lying down is just a very questionable action to begin with! I’m alive, but chewing gum to stay awake works best while sitting.

gum

10. Cold: I don’t know about most people, but personally cold temperatures keep me awake (except for extreme cold like Titanic-Glacial-Arctic-Cold as Leonardo DiCaprio demonstrated). Any warmth and comfort can serve as a catalyst of snoozing. So if you need to keep at it despite any sleepiness then turn the heaters low and wear skimpy clothing while studying hard.

coldtitanic

WARNING: Do not drive or operate heavy machinery if sleepy or fatigued. This state is regarded as being the same as insobriety. This is not only dangerous for all those around you but can result in a trip to jail. If you need to get somewhere ask someone to take you, postpone the trip, or try public transportation.

Here’s a picture of my cat for you to enjoy:

CAM00171

 

Leave me some of your techniques for staying focused and awake or some feedback on my drawings in the comments section below ūüôā

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