Picture for illustrative purposes only Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Do you have trouble keeping your eyes open at work? Does an overpowering urge for shut-eye strike you when you drive? Or are you guilty of dozing off during a conversation?

If any of this sounds familiar, it’s time you did something about it. As it turns out, the condition – drowsiness – is becoming all too common these days. But it can be ill-ignored as it is often a sign of a deeper problem.

Quality of life

Dr Gordon Bland, specialist, family medicine at the Mediclinic Dubai Mall Clinic, said, “Drowsiness can be a serious problem if it gets to a point where it interferes with your quality of life. It can also impact family life, productivity at work and road safety.”

He said, “Drowsiness is usually the result of lack of quality sleep. It can also indicate an iron or vitamin deficiency. Low vitamin D levels in the body are a common reason why people feel drowsy. Stress, anxiety and depression too cause fatigue and drowsiness. Potentially, drowsiness can also be a sinister sign of a deeper problem.” Among the most common medical conditions are diabetes, hypothyroidism and heart health.

Dr Jolley Thomas, GP at Aster Clinic, Al Khail Mall, said, she sees a lot of patients who complain of drowsiness. “This is particularly so during summer. We find heat exhaustion to be the main cause. Loss of fluid inside the ears which maintains body balance also makes people drowsy. There could be other factors, too, which are determined through tests.”

Sleep disorders

Dr Carl Ramberg, neurologist at the German Neuroscience Centre, said drowsiness during the day is most commonly the result of a sleep disorder during the night.

The most common of these disorders are insomnia and sleep apnea, with rare instances of restless leg syndrome and narcolepsia.

“The key to fighting drowsiness is to get a good night’s sleep. It is important that we are disciplined and maintain sleep hygiene. Often, cognitive therapy is sufficient to treat insomnia and drowsiness.”

He said, “There are six recommendations here: don’t go to sleep before you feel sleepy; do not use the bed for anything other than sleep; go to another room if you don’t fall asleep within 15-20 minutes; repeat this until you feel sleepy; don’t sleep during the day; and wake up at the same time everyday.”

Other tips include avoiding sleep medications, caffeine and alcohol.