Tiredness vs Drowsiness

One thing that’s become very clear to me is that tiredness and the feeling of being drowsy are two entirely different things.

You can be drowsy without being tired and vice versa.

Tiredness without drowsiness is often a feeling of being “wired”. You know you need to sleep, but you’re often too engrossed in whatever you’re doing to be able to fall asleep. Or perhaps you’re propping yourself up with caffeine. Tiredness slowly overtakes you. You feel it throughout your body.

I don’t know yet how to tell when you’re drowsy without being tired except that it hits really suddenly. You’re going along fine, then WHAM! You can barely keep your eyes open and there’s a curiously comfortable feeling of sinking and relaxing. It’s all in your head/brain, though your limbs may feel heavy. I know I’m not tired because I can shake it off usually just by moving around or increasing the light in the room. I also know it’s not tiredness because sometimes I go to sleep feeling great and wake up 20 minutes later totally drowsy.

Another way I know it’s different is that drowsiness is often the morning fog you might experience after a solid 8 hours sleep (man that seems a lot to me right now!). Once it wears off you feel great, but it’s often a cause for rolling over and hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock.

I think the drowsiness is the brain releasing a hormone telling you to go to sleep. It’s got its place, but it’s pretty counter productive if you’re not actually tired. Sleeping because you’re just drowsy almost ALWAYS results in poor quality sleep, I find.

Anyway, something to think about and explore further. Have you experienced something like this? I’d love to know.


  1. Interesting isn’t it! I’m still trying to work out if my usual crashing on the couch in the mid-evening is due to drowsiness or tiredness… But I agree with drowsiness being the reason for hitting snooze in the morning – as soon as you actually get up, you’re fine – in fact – great! Great post 🙂

Speak Your Mind