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Drowsiness During the Daytime: Friend or Foe?The Daily Symptoms of Exhaustion
Kim Seung-chan  |
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승인 2009.10.29  18:36:49
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YOUR BODY is not a machine. Sometimes your body is so exhausted that you cannot adjust to the environment. Drowsiness strikes and everything becomes fuzzy. Then, you have no concept of what is going on. When you awake, you realize that you have come back to reality. Drowsiness can be an ally, as it releases the fatigue that was weighing heavily on you. However, it can also be an enemy, as you are not in the real world at the moment when you are supposed to be. To identify the facts of this condition, The Yonsei Annals asked 103 Yonseians questions related to drowsiness.

When does drowsiness come?

 The sleeping fatigue does not strike randomly. There are certain situations when this companion comes along. Ahead of investigating the causes and symptoms of drowsiness, it is crucial to identify when exactly this feeling comes along. In the first question entitled, “How often do you feel sleepy?” over half of the Yonseians (53) felt that they feel drowsiness a lot. Only 14 respondents said that they hardly experience drowsiness while awake. This demonstrates that drowsiness is a common symptom among Yonseians’ lives. As the majority said that they feel exhausted during the daytime, it is reasonable to investigate about drowsiness.
   Let us take a look at the situations when drowsiness comes to Yonseians. Out of 103 respondents, 44 said that drowsiness comes after meals. Other responses were: when cramming at night (23), while studying (10), when attending a class (10), and when there is nothing to do (4). It is surprising that even though one cannot live without meals, it brings forth drowsiness. Perhaps exhaustion is indispensable in the human daytime cycle. There were also surprising results about meals. When the question “In which time interval do you feel sleepy?” was given, 53 respondents out of 98 replied “from noon to 2 p.m..” However, the second most frequent answer was from 2.p.m. to 6.p.m., with 21 responses. This makes us assume that the major source of exhaustion might coincide with lunch time. Accordingly, it was investigated that over 70% of Yonseians felt sleepy after lunch time. This does not directly demonstrate in means of food as a major source of drowsiness, but it gives evidence that drowsiness is influenced by the time during the day and lunch meals. Scientifically, it is known that after meal time, the blood vessels in the stomach expand relative to the brain veins, which leads the blood to concentrate in the stomach. That way, the brain would have less blood, which can lead to drowsiness. One of the solutions for this is suggested by Kim Man-ho (Prof., Seoul National Univ. Neuroscience Lab). He recommends us to lie upside down, which lets the blood go to the upper part of our body. That way, it will facilitate blood circulation by helping the veins’ pressure to be strengthened by gravity. 



Major reasons of drowsiness
   The Annals asked Yonseians about their own personal causes for drowsiness in order to find out about the reasons behind such symptoms. Out of 103 responses, the majority answered that the “tiredness of everyday life” is the major factor which causes drowsiness. The second most rated answer was the “lack of sleep.” The answer, “after a meal” was rated as the third most factor of drowsiness. This shows that the meals do influence drowsiness, but this is not the most influential factors. Moreover, the satisfaction of Yonseians after sleeping during lectures was investigated. Out of 101 answers, 76 answers stated that they were not satisfied when they fall asleep during class. Maybe it is disappointing for them to partially miss the lectures which are directly related to exams. Then, there must be a reason for feeling tired during class hours. Three major reasons were shown as the unchanging voice frequency of the professor (23), as students attend class after meals (22), and lack of interest within the lecture (22). If the students are interested about the lecture they are attending or the professor is a good speaker, students are assumed to avoid drowsiness. Also, not taking meals before class can probably be a great solution to avoid this symptom. Other than this, let us see how Yonseians eel sleepy, and look at the best solution that can be held in practice.


How do you know that you are falling asleep; is there a solution?
   There are various ways of recognizing that one is not wholly conscious. To the question “How do you recognize when drowsiness waves through you?”, two major answers came up - Yonseians feel as if they are afloat (26), or they hardly recognize that they are asleep (25). Have you ever heard sounds differently when you are asleep? There were answers that the real world situation is transferred by the meaning being changed in a different way (19). Some answers included dreams appearing (5) and darkness appearing (5). Now, as these are the symptoms how drowsiness appears, it is time to find a solution for it. For Yonseians, the majority (35) of 97 respondents stated that sleeping is the way they respond to drowsiness. Some answered that they just endure against the sleeping force (17), stretch one’s body or give it a slight massage (14), and eat something that is stimulating the nervous systems such as coffee (13). Most of the Yonseians think it is effective (32). When looking at the Yonseians’ thoughts about the best solution for drowsiness, the most rated were having sufficient amount of sleep (59), and naps during free time (24). These recommended solutions are quite reasonable. Did you know that most of the Yonseians do not sleep that much? 73 people out of 98 said that they sleep between midnight and 3.a.m., and absolutely none who slept before 10 p.m.. Also, out of 96 respondents, 79 people claimed to sleep for less than 7 hours, which indicates that over 80% of the Yonseians are not having enough sleeping hours. Thus, the most urgent problem is “attaining sufficient amount of sleep.”
                                                                           *               *               *
   What if there is a precise way to control drowsiness? There were a lot of responses that gave suggestions to this answer. Most Yonseians said that they will control their sleeping hours to the time they go to bed, as they do not want to mess up their daytime. It is scientifically known that the human body encounters a rhythm of 90 minutes. This is a regular period when the biological rhythm goes up and down. Thus, it will be wise for one to have 80 minutes of work and ten minutes of rest, which totals in 90 minutes. This is one of the scientific solutions to reduce drowsiness. What are your habits in drowsiness? Do you feel sleepy a lot? It is very important to know about your body condition. That way, you will reduce time spending and wandering inside drowsiness. How about taking a short nap? It is well known that a 20 minute nap is refreshing the best for the daily nap. These are only few suggestions among various ways to overcome drowsiness. We hope you will have good luck controlling your daily rhythms by finding the most suitable solution for yourself. That way, drowsiness will be your friend, not a foe!

How often do you feel sleepy?

very often (10)
quite often (43)
sometimes  (34)
barely     (14)
not at all (0)

 What are the situations when drowsiness comes?

after meals (45)
when cramming at night (23)
while studying (10)
when attending a class (10)
and when there is nothing to do (4)
drowsiness always comes (8)
others (2)

 How do you recognize when drowsiness waves through you?

feel as if we are afloat (26)
hard to recognize that we are asleep (25)
the real world situation is transferred by the meaning being changed in a different way (19)
dreams appear (5)
darkness appear (5)
more than two of the above(11)

What is your solution when drowsiness comes?

sleeping (35)
just endure against the sleeping force (17)
stretch our body or give it a slight massage (14)
eat something that is stimulating the nervous systems (13)
give our body a stimulation (9)
drink cold water (3)
wash my face (4)
others (2)

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