MOSCOW, July 2 - RIA Novosti, Tatyana Pichugina. A quarter of patients visiting doctors complain of daytime sleepiness. Most often we are talking about basic lack of sleep, when you just need a normal rest. But if there is no way to afford it yet? RIA Novosti tells how to cope with a sleepy state and distinguish it from fatigue.
In the evening, when there is less sunlight, the visual neurons gradually calm down, and a chain of chemical reactions starts in the brain, leading to the synthesis of the hormone melatonin. Once in the blood, it quickly spreads to all organs of the body, inhibits hormonal processes.
At night, the level of melatonin in the blood is maximum, the body is asleep. In the morning, the brain gradually stops producing the hormone, the visual neurons wake up, and behind them the whole body.
Sleep is necessary to restore the functioning of the body, mainly the brain and the entire nervous system. If a person slept little, during the day he will not be in the best shape: difficulties will arise with concentration of attention, speed of reaction. Lethargy, slowness will be noticeable.
The transitional state between sleep and wakefulness is called drowsiness. A person is susceptible to it, barely waking up or late in the evening, when it’s time to go to bed. It’s a kind of hunger that goes away quickly if you eat well on time.
Take a little nap
In order for a person, being a daytime creature, to experience sleepiness during daylight hours, specific conditions are needed that shorten the sleep time. For example, a long flight across several time zones, shift work in which the cycle of day and night gets lost, a hangover, eating disorders, taking certain medications, excessive caffeine intake, apnea (breathing problems), or other diseases and conditions. More often than not, people deprive themselves of sleep because of entertainment or household chores.
"A healthy person is recommended to sleep seven to nine hours. Usually on weekdays, people sleep less and get enough sleep at the end of the week, but on weekends it is impossible to fully compensate for the lost sleep," comments RIA Novosti Mikhail Poluektov, associate professor of the Department of Nervous Diseases and Neurosurgery of the First Moscow State Medical University named after I. M. Sechenova, Head of the Sleep Medicine Department, University Clinical Hospital 3, Candidate of Medical Sciences.
According to the scientist, sleepiness is the ability to actually fall asleep. If a person says that he is sleepy, but does not fall asleep when the opportunity arises, then this is fatigue.
"You can measure the level of sleepiness with a multiple sleep latency test - during the day, a person is put to bed five times at intervals of two hours, and then the time to fall asleep is averaged. Normally, in the absence of sleepiness, people in such conditions fall asleep in ten minutes or more. If this figure is less, then their sleepiness is real, "Poluektov explains.
If in this test a person falls asleep after five minutes, they talk about pathological lack of sleep. As Vladimir Kovalzon writes in the book "Fundamentals of Somnology", this is observed in anesthesiologists on duty or patients with sleep apnea. After a sleepless night, a person is knocked out in two minutes. Sleep occurs just as quickly in patients with narcolepsy.
What to do if you really want to sleep during the day? According to Mikhail Poluektov, short power naps are recommended in such situations. They can also be organized at work.
“Oddly enough, ultra-short falling asleep - ten minutes each - has the maximum positive effect on attention. If the sleep lasts more than half an hour, then after waking up the indicators may even worsen (sleep inertia), "he clarifies.
Coffee and sports
Not everyone and not always have the opportunity to take a nap at work even for a few minutes. Therefore, in order to cheer up, people resort to the help of caffeine. This natural psychostimulant substance is found in coffee, tea, cocoa. Its synthetic analogue is added to many over-the-counter medicines: for headaches, colds, allergies.
"Caffeine really reduces sleepiness," confirms Mikhail Poluektov.
Various experimental studies have shown that it improves thought processes, attention, reaction time, psychomotor functions, and memory.
Energy drinks, which often contain a high dose of caffeine, are even more invigorating. But the cardiovascular system suffers from them. Therefore, it is better to resort to other methods.
"It has been shown that physical activity significantly reduces drowsiness. And it should be remembered that the tendency to sleep changes cyclically with a period of about one and a half hours. This means that if you want to sleep now, then after 30-40 minutes drowsiness itself can go away if" debt sleep "is not very great" - the scientist emphasizes.
When to change your lifestyle or be treated
A large number of scientific studies have been devoted to daytime sleepiness. From ten to 25 percent of people who turn to somnologists complain of this condition. It is rather difficult to investigate it, since there is a lot of subjective in it.
Daytime sleepiness may indicate an illness if the person experiences it every day for a month or longer. It often accompanies depression, migraines, and alcoholism.
Scientists have found that daytime sleepiness has become more common among high school students and students. Some associate this with an excessive enthusiasm for gadgets, messengers, which are activated even at night.
There was also a positive association between increased daytime sleepiness and caffeine consumption. However, which of this is the cause, and which is the effect, remains to be understood.