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Feeling heaviness in head and sleeplessness. How to get relief?

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Practicing since : 2003
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Hi Sir
This is XXXXXXX from Bangalore
I have this constant feeling of heaviness in head and sleepy-ness even after getting approx 7 hours of sleep..The symptoms are at their peek around 7am and between 9:30-11:30..The morning are never like those fresh ones.
Mon, 31 Dec 2012 in Sleep Disorders
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 1 hour later

Welcome to Healthcare Magic.

Feeling groggy, sleepy and heavy during the day, despite sleeping for an adequate duration of sleep, indicates that you are having a poor "quality" of sleep or a disturbed sleep.

There are several sleep disorders like sleep apnoea, night terrors, etc. where the person has an "apparently" continuous sleep but still undergoes breaks or disturbances in sleep, thereby resulting in poor quality and unrefreshing sleep. Obstructive sleep apnoea is one common condition, where there is obstruction of the airway during sleep, causing lack of sufficient XXXXXXX sleep, often accompanied by snoring.

Underlying anxiety disorders and psychological can also cause unrefreshing sleep, despite sleeping for enough no. of hours. Certain medication and chemical substances like alcohol, caffeine, smoking, etc. can also cause disturbed sleep. Frequent disturbances from the external environment, such as light, noise, lack of privacy, etc. can also prevent a person from getting a XXXXXXX sleep.

I would advise you to try the following "sleep hygiene" techniques strictly, which itself should be sufficient in most cases, to control such sleep problems:

- Fix a specific bedtime and an awakening time. Do not allow bedtime and awakening time to drift.
- Avoid napping during the day (even if you feel sleepy or groggy).
- Avoid coffee, tea or any caffeinated drinks or alcohol 4 hours before bedtime.
- Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods for dinner. Have a gap of at least 1 hour between dinner and bedtime.
- Exercise regularly, preferably in the early evening, at least 4 hours before bedtime.
- Set up a comfortable environment which is dark, quiet and disturbance-free. Block out all distracting noise, and eliminate as much light as possible.
- Reserve the bed for sleep only. Don't use the bed for studying, working or for other rectreational activities.
- Try a light snack before bed. Warm milk and foods high in the amino acid tryptophan, such as bananas, may help you to sleep.
- Practice relaxation techniques before bed. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, XXXXXXX breathing and others may help relieve anxiety and reduce muscle tension.
- Don't take your worries to bed. Leave your worries about studies, work, daily life, etc., behind when you go to bed. Some people find it useful to assign a "worry period" during the evening or late afternoon to deal with these issues.
- Establish a pre-sleep ritual. Pre-sleep rituals, such as a warm bath or a few minutes of reading, can help you sleep.

In case your problems continue to persist (less likely) or if you may be having any stress or anxiety-related problems, which may be causing your sleep disturbance, I would advise you to consult a psychiatrist for a detailed evaluation. Sometimes, a Sleep Study (Polysomnography) may also be required to see if you are having any sleep disorders, like sleep apnoea, etc.

Wish you all the best.

- Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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