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Fighting Off Sleepiness: Myths and Facts

Myth: Sleepiness is normal -- I just have to live with it. continued...

Drowsiness is one of the primary symptoms of hypothyroidism, for example, and Shives says that is one of the first things your physician is likely to check for if you complain of persistent fatigue or sleepiness.

Depression and other mood disorders can also manifest themselves as sleepiness and fatigue. Daytime sleepiness can indicate a sleep disorder, like insomnia, sleep apnea, or restless legs syndrome, that is preventing you from sleeping well at night, and anuntreated sleep disorder puts you at high risk for a stroke or heart attack. Finally, recent research has found that excessive day time sleepiness in an older person can be a symptom of cardiovascular disease.

Dealing With the Facts: Get More Sleep

Of course, you may just be sleepy because, like so many other Americans, you don't get enough sleep at night. If this is the case, you may want to make some payments on your sleep deficit.

A growing body of research establishes how important sufficient sleep is to our quality of life. Sleep deprivation can trigger depression and anxiety; it can also impede performance and creativity. Finally, sleep deprivation can be fatal. As many as 100,000 deaths each year are caused by drowsy drivers, according to the National Safety Council.

It's never too late to begin developing good sleep habits. Why not start tonight?

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Reviewed on February 17, 2010
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