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Old 11-12-2013, 09:14 PM
 
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Over the last year, I've been having an increasingly frequent amount of sleepy spells. Basically a 1-2 hour period where I feel incredibly sleepy, and feel like I could fall asleep in an instant if I wanted. My eyelids feel like they weight 1000lbs, and I find myself drifting off to sleep despite my best efforts to stay awake.

It would be nice if they sleepy spells would hit when I wanted to sleep at night, but for the most part I get these horrible sleepy spells between 7-8PM, and less frequently between 3-5PM. I would say that at least like 4-5 days a week I get super sleepy at around 7PM, and it persists till about 8 or 9PM. It's frustrating because I have stuff I need to get done, but am too tired to do it!

Any tips for dealing with these sleepy spells? I don't like to drink coffee because it has begun to upset my stomach, plus hardwires me all night.
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Old 11-12-2013, 09:17 PM
 
Location: St. Louis
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Does this come on after eating sugary foods?
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Old 11-12-2013, 09:20 PM
 
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The same thing happens to me and the only ways I have found to keep myself from falling asleep is to get up and move around and do stuff, or what helps me is to eat something.
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Old 11-12-2013, 11:19 PM
 
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See your doctor. You could be hypothyroid. Easily corrected with pills.

Your doc should do a full blood work-up.

Last edited by daliowa; 11-12-2013 at 11:20 PM.. Reason: edit
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Old 11-13-2013, 12:05 AM
 
Location: earth?
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Are you sleep deprived? Sleep as long as you can on the weekends and if it turns out to be a long time, then establish new sleep habits. Increase your sleep.
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Old 11-13-2013, 03:22 AM
 
Location: Florida
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There are a couple of fairly common reasons but what you neglected to mention is whether you're just sitting around when this happens or if you're up and active.
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Old 11-13-2013, 08:17 AM
 
1,116 posts, read 1,849,963 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daliowa View Post
See your doctor. You could be hypothyroid. Easily corrected with pills.

Your doc should do a full blood work-up.
Just had blood work done, results were good all across the board.

Quote:
Originally Posted by old_cold View Post
There are a couple of fairly common reasons but what you neglected to mention is whether you're just sitting around when this happens or if you're up and active.
Sitting around since it's usually in the evening.

Quote:
Originally Posted by imcurious View Post
Are you sleep deprived? Sleep as long as you can on the weekends and if it turns out to be a long time, then establish new sleep habits. Increase your sleep.
I probably don't get enough sleep. We have a new puppy that whines for food every morning, (we don't give him attention till he is quiet, but it still wakes us up at like 4AM!)
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Old 11-13-2013, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
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Sleep apnea? Common symptom.
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Old 11-13-2013, 11:57 AM
 
Location: St. Louis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_grimace View Post
I probably don't get enough sleep. We have a new puppy that whines for food every morning, (we don't give him attention till he is quiet, but it still wakes us up at like 4AM!)
Case solved!
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Old 11-15-2013, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Federal Way, WA
115 posts, read 104,568 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_grimace View Post
Over the last year, I've been having an increasingly frequent amount of sleepy spells. Basically a 1-2 hour period where I feel incredibly sleepy, and feel like I could fall asleep in an instant if I wanted. My eyelids feel like they weight 1000lbs, and I find myself drifting off to sleep despite my best efforts to stay awake.

It would be nice if they sleepy spells would hit when I wanted to sleep at night, but for the most part I get these horrible sleepy spells between 7-8PM, and less frequently between 3-5PM. I would say that at least like 4-5 days a week I get super sleepy at around 7PM, and it persists till about 8 or 9PM. It's frustrating because I have stuff I need to get done, but am too tired to do it!

Any tips for dealing with these sleepy spells? I don't like to drink coffee because it has begun to upset my stomach, plus hardwires me all night.
Sleep debt is accumulated every single day that you do not meet your body's level of need for sleep, which can vary based on age and many other factors, but usually is in the 7-9 hour range with some people needing even higher or lower amounts. Studies have shown that the body keeps a running total of your sleep debt for a minimum of 2 weeks, as documented by Dr. William C. Dement of Stanford University, one of the pioneers of sleep study.
Basically, if your body actually needs 7.5 hours of sleep per day, and you were to sleep 6.5 per day for one full week, you would be 7 hours behind on your sleep. Sleeping 2 hours late on Saturday and Sunday would leave you with at least 3 hours of sleep debt for THAT week. If you already were carrying sleep debt from the previous week, add it to the total. There have been no studies that document sleep debt accumulating for more than 2 weeks, so right now its anybody's guess as to how long our bodies keep track.

Those sleepy spells are most likely your body's signals that you are way behind on sleep. Fatigue and sleepiness are 2 different things, although they feel very similar. You can be very fatigued and if you are caught up on your sleep, you will simply feel lethargic and lack energy. With sleep deprivation, you can actually be producing plenty of energy and not be fatigued, but your brain's requirement for sleep overrides your conscious mind's wish to stay awake by making you sleepy.

Consider that Dr. Dement's book discusses this fact that even I found surprising:

Empirical evidence has proven healthful sleep to be the single most important factor in predicting longevity, more influential than diet, exercise, or genetics.

I always put diet and exercise at the top of preventative self-care, until bouts of narcoleptic type sleepy spells began to threaten my well being (literally falling asleep in mid sentence several times when I only felt "slightly" tired). After reading Dr. Dement's book, "The Promise of Sleep", it really changed the way I view sleep. Its a great book, but rather long. I'm sure there are plenty of other good books about sleep that are shorter, or you could google information about sleep debt, sleep quality, etc.

The bottom line is, if you are getting sleepier than usual, the overwhelming odds are that you are either not getting enough sleep, or you have something interrupting your sleep (such as the new puppy!) that keeps you from reaching deeper levels of sleep which may actually increase the total amount of sleep you need.
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