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What are they? While there are many medications that trigger sleepiness, the more common ones include antidepressants, which alter the chemical balance in the brain to help stabilize and improve mood. Fatigue and drowsiness can especially hit during the first few weeks of taking them.

Antidepressants also often have a side effect of weight gain. Yet, exercise can be physically and mentally important with mood disorders. (Studies show that exercise can help improve mood and depression.)

What to do: “There are many different classes of antidepressants, and if yours causes a significant amount of drowsiness, talk to your physician about alternative antidepressants that don’t cause it,” says Emberley. He also notes that starting off with a lower dosage of a new antidepressant may also help the sleepy factor, or try taking them before bedtime.


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What are they? Drowsiness is often a side effect of antihistamines, particularly older generation medications such as Benadryl and Chlor-Tripolon. (Antihistamines block or lessen histamine, which is triggered by an allergic reaction like coming into contact with pet hair or pollen.) “Your alertness can be affected,” notes Emberley. “If someone’s a runner, for example, and they’ve taken an antihistamine that makes them drowsy, they can misstep and get injured.”

What to do: There are newer generations of antihistamine medications on drugstore shelves (e.g. Claritin, Alegra, and Reactin) that don’t cause the same level of drowsiness, if at all. (Some of these meds are marked as “non-drowsy.”) However, if you prefer the older antihistamines, time your medication well. “These older ones tend to be shorter acting so they may last only four hours and that drowsiness would wear off and you could exercise,” Emberley says. Read up on these 49 other secrets your pharmacist won’t tell you.

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