The Jakarta Post
To overcome tiredness, we tend to grab coffee, which does not always help. (Shutterstock/Creativa Images)
Whether you had a restful sleep last night or not, it is typically unavoidable to feel sleepy while bored. Science can explain why.
Published in the Nature Communications journal, a team of Japanese and Chinese researchers conducted a study to determine why people get sleepy when bored, Reader’s Digest reports.
As it turns out, the nucleus accumbens, a part of the brain that influences motivation and pleasure, also affects one’s drowsiness. If this region is not stimulated, the brain will send signals to fall asleep. These neurons are so strong that we cannot perceive the difference between boredom-induced sleep and regular sleep, known as slow-wave sleep, which is characterized by slow and high-voltage brain waves.
Yo Oishi, the lead author on the study, explained that “the classic somnogen adenosine is a strong candidate for evoking the sleep effect in the nucleus accumbens”.
Adenosine represents a state of energy deficiency and induces sleep via adenosine receptors.
Read also: Why do we feel sleepy after eating a meal?
To overcome the tiredness, we tend to grab some coffee, which does not always help. “When coffee alone isn’t enough to keep you awake during boring meetings, I recommend getting up and standing, or better yet, walking back and forth in the rear of the room. If someone asks why you’re doing that, you can always mumble something about your back,” Patricia Salber, MD, founder of The Doctor Weighs In recommends.
Going outside to get some sunshine and fresh air “will increase your orexin levels, a neuropeptide that helps keep you wakeful. After 10 to 15 minutes, you can go back in and finish the meeting feeling much more alert.”
Dr. Jennifer Stagg recommends considering alternatives to caffeine, saying that “instead of jumping to caffeine, low sugar-electrolyte formulas are my go-to for an energy boost, and staying optimally hydrated is important for energy, so making sure you spread your water intake throughout the day is ideal.” (sop/kes)
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