Published on 11 November 2021

What Makes Us Sleepy?

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Sleep is undoubtedly an integral part of human life. Whether he is working or not, residing in our country or another, every person on this planet needs sleep. The primary reason why people sleep is to relax their minds and body. 

People spend their time working or indulging in some activity which results in the drain of physical energy, and as they get tired, they feel sleepy and need to experience a sound sleep. But people often cannot sleep even after a long day and have to toss and turn on their beds. 

Sleepiness is primarily caused by a hormone called Melatonin which is released late in the day when your body clock tells you it's time to hit the hay. This hormone helps with physical and mental rest, as well as helping to regulate appetite and mood. 

Furthermore, sleep deprivation can lead to severe physical and psychological problems such as memory loss, poor immune system function, difficulty concentrating, or increased risk for certain illnesses. 

Getting enough quality sleep is essential for maintaining good health and well-being. So always remember those eight hours! Let's look for other activities that may help you to sleep better at night.

Sleep Processes

Sleep processes may differ as per the person and the individual's mental state. Everything depends on the way a person spends their day.

Sleep/Wake Homeostasis

People find sleep a part of their daily routine and thus sleep every night to feel better and energetic the following day. The more they spend their day working and awake, the more sleepy they think. This is the normal sleep process known as Sleep/Wake Homeostasis. 

This process seems like the typical human psychology of getting sleep after working all day. It depends upon the hours spent working every day by a person and denotes that wakefulness and sleep go hand in hand. But there are several other reasons too which can cause people to feel sleepy. It may sound unique, but there's science behind sleep too.

Circadian Biological Clock

The circadian biological clock is a type of sleep process that handles the balance of sleepiness and wakefulness in our everyday life. The Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN) controls the circadian biological clock in the brain's hypothalamus. As the SCN is sensitive to light and dark signals, SCN detects the darkness at night and signals the pineal gland to release Melatonin, which makes people sleepy. On the other hand, it senses the morning sunshine and promotes the release of Cortisol which helps a person to wake up.

Neurotransmitters are nerve-signaling chemicals that act on different neuron groups and control sleep and wakefulness. Neurons produce neurotransmitters Like Norepinephrine and Serotonin in the brainstem, which keep the parts of the brain active whenever a person is awake. Some neurons present at the base of the brain stop the signals keeping the person awake and sending signals to fall asleep. Adenosine is the chemical that builds up in the blood during awakening, which causes a person to feel drowsy and sleep and gets broken down after sleep.

Common Reasons For Feeling Sleepy

Along with some scientific reasons, we observe other reasons in our everyday lives that make us sleepy.

  • People tend to feel sleepy during a presentation or lecture because they may find it boring and thus find it challenging to concentrate, which results in feeling sleepy.
  • We see many people taking a nap while traveling via bus or train. It is because of the motion that makes people feel sleepy during travel.
  • After having a heavy and delicious lunch, the majority of the people find themselves feeling sleepy.

All of these conditions vary from person to person. There might be a person who won't feel sleepy in the circumstances mentioned above, while some might find all the situations relatable. It is because every person has their body designed differently. The number of hours spent by one person working may be more or less than that of others; thus, enough sleep is required by the body of the person working for more hours might be higher than others. 

Why Is Feeling Sleepy Important?

Feeling sleepy all day is not the best option, but it is essential at night. One needs to feel tired to get a sound sleep. We have come across the saying "SOUND SLEEP, SOUND MIND" in our school chapters, and it stands exactly to its words. People who genuinely tend to feel sleepy at night have a better chance of experiencing deep sleep. This helps people wake up energetic the next day and work with a clear mind. It also helps to maintain proper mental health.

There are many reasons associated with people feeling sleepy. From internal factors such as chemicals, neurotransmitters, etc., working in the body to external factors like uninteresting activities or monotonic work, each makes us feel asleep. We may find it unique to feel sleepy during the daylight more often than at night. Still, it is undoubtedly crucial for a person to have proper and sound sleep every day, irrespective of age and gender, to have better physical and mental health. Thus rest is essential for the appropriate functioning of the body in physical activities.

Frequently asked questions

Getting enough sleep is incredibly important for your overall health and well-being. The recommended amount of sleep adults require 7-9 hours per night and varies for each individual.
The best sleep positions keep your spine aligned and compress the slightest pressure on your joints, such as sleeping on your side with a cushion between your legs or lying on your back under your knees.
Eating can make us sleepy due to our body's natural response to food. When we eat, our body releases insulin and other hormones that trigger a slight energy dip as the nutrient breakdown occurs. Our metabolism also slows down as we digest, contributing to how tired we may feel after a meal.

Causes of Insomnia

Insomnia is a type of sleeping disorder that makes it hard to fall asleep or causes one to wake up too early and be unable to sleep again.

Insomnia can be caused by a wide variety of things, such as Stress, anxiety, medications, environmental factors such as noise or temperature changes, and even consuming caffeine late in the day can all contribute to insufficient sleep. Your diet can also play a role, as some people may be sensitive about certain foods and experience symptoms like jitteriness or restlessness after eating them. 

People who have pre-existing mental health issues are particularly vulnerable to insomnia. Physical ailments like chronic pain or breathing disorders can also disrupt sleep patterns. It's essential to see your doctor if you think your insomnia is related to an underlying condition so that a treatment plan tailored specifically for you can be implemented. 

Ways To Improve Sleep

Improving your sleep is essential for overall well-being and mental health, so it's good to focus on ways to make sure you're getting enough quality rest every night. 

The perfect way to do this is by sticking to a regular sleep schedule; try to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. It's also essential to have a comfortable sleep environment; ensuring your room is dark, calm, and free from distractions like TVs or smartphones can help you relax. 

Before bed, aim for calming routines like yoga or meditation and avoid eating heavy meals or drinking caffeine in the evening. Finally, if you experience insomnia or difficulty falling asleep, talk to your doctor as soon as possible about treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy, which can help with chronic sleep problems. 

Treatment Options for Sleep Disorders

When treating sleep disorders, various options are available depending on the severity and type of your issues. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is often used as an effective solution for insomnia and other non-organic sleep disorders. Keeping health lifestyle changes such as reducing alcohol intake, avoiding stimulating activities late at night, sticking to a regular sleep schedule, and making the bedroom an environment dedicated to rest is also significant to help improve one's sleep habits. 

Additionally, prescription sleeping pills, like benzodiazepines or serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may be prescribed depending on the individual's medical history and overall health condition; however, these should not generally be considered first-line treatments for most cases. Regardless of your chosen option, speaking with your healthcare provider about the best course of action for you is essential. 

Also, Read

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

Many things can make us sleepy, but scientists have long struggled to understand what happens in the brain when we feel tired. That's why a recent discovery, detailed in Neuron, was so exciting. 

Researchers at MIT conducted an experiment where they injected mice with a chemical that made them want to sleep and then used electrodes to monitor their brain activity. They found that specific neurons recently discovered by other scientists fired during sleep onset and that stimulating them made mice fall asleep.

You can find the techniques you can use to improve your sleeping pattern. It is all about understanding yourself and getting away from stressful situations. Keep yourself calm and peaceful to have a soothing sleep.