Drowsiness

Definition - What does Drowsiness mean?

Drowsiness describes the state of being drowsy or sleepy. A person experiencing drowsiness may feel tired or sluggish and have difficulty staying awake. Individuals are usually less alert when drowsy and may fall asleep but are able to be roused.

When used by medical professionals, the term drowsiness describes a symptom that may arise from a variety of causes. A person will naturally become drowsy when their body is in need of rest. However, in some cases an individual can experience drowsiness either at inappropriate times or to excess.

Drowsiness is also referred to as somnolence or sleepiness.

WorkplaceTesting explains Drowsiness

In the workplace, excessive drowsiness can be a safety hazard. A person experiences drowsiness is less alert and may even fall asleep while on the job. A worker who is drowsy due to sleep deprivation may have slower reaction time, reduced motor control, and impaired cognitive abilities. Drowsiness reduces the brain's ability to process information, slowing productivity and limiting an individual's ability to respond to stimuli. Some researchers have concluded that a severely fatigued driver is just as dangerous as a driver who has consumed excessive alcohol.

Drowsiness that occurs during the hours associated with wakefulness is sometimes referred to as excessive daytime sleepiness. Of course, for individuals engaged in shift work, daytime sleepiness may be the norm. In modern times, it may be more accurate to refer to drowsiness as either normal or abnormal. Medications, neurological disorders, sleep apnea, lack of sleep or insomnia, or substance abuse are all potential causes of drowsiness.

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