What Makes Me Excessively Sleepy During the Day?

Topics: Insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, feeling sleepy all the time, sleep disorders, Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

It is not uncommon to feel sleepy when unblinkingly staring at your laptop screen for hours. But, if this happens to you every other day, you may have excessive daytime sleepiness. Also known as daytime somnolence, this condition indicates poor sleep quality or a health disorder. You must recognise its signs, understand its causes, and treat the problem to avoid complications.

excessively sleepy during the day

Here is all you should know about excessive daytime sleepiness!

What is excessive daytime sleepiness?

Excessive daytime sleepiness is a rest-related problem where you experience difficulty staying awake during the day. The desire to rest in the daytime is elevated, especially when you are sedentary and inactive when driving or reading a book.

While most people experience the urge to rest when short on sleep, people with excessive daytime sleepiness feel drowsy almost every day for at least three months. They experience repeated bouts of sleep that can be dangerous as they increase the chances of accidents.

How to differentiate between sleepiness and fatigue?

It is easy to confuse sleepiness with fatigue because, in both these conditions, you feel sluggish and want to go to bed. The lack of energy in both cases makes you want to find the nearest corner and doze off.

But, there is one way you can differentiate between sleepiness and fatigue. When suffering from the latter, you may not drift off despite feeling tired, but this is not the case with the former condition.

What symptoms are common in excessive daytime sleepiness?

Even if you do not feel sleepy all the time, you may have this condition if you are showing the following symptoms:

  • With daytime sleepiness, people experience difficulty staying alert.
  • People with this sleep problem have slow reaction times.
  • Such people are risk-takers and may make some mildly dangerous choices.
  • With excessive daytime sleepiness, it becomes challenging to make decisions.
  • It is challenging to comprehend new concepts or ideas.
  • Daytime sleepiness might disturb your focus.
  • Such people feel irritated and may get offended by small things.
  • Remembering things is difficult for people dealing with excessive daytime sleepiness.

What are the possible causes of excessive daytime sleepiness?

Many reasons can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness, including:

  • Functioning on chronic lack of sleep because of long work hours, insomnia, irregular schedule, or other reasons can induce daytime sleepiness.
  • Not catching on to good-quality sleep at night may lead to excessive daytime sleepiness. In people who get up multiple times to use the washroom when sleeping, the natural progression of the sleep cycle gets disrupted. This also reduces the proportion of restorative slow-wave sleep.
  • Lifestyle habits like smoking or not exercising enough during the day can lead to fragmented or poor quality. This, in turn, may lead to excessive daytime sleepiness.
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness may also result from an underlying health condition or sleep disorder.

Sleep disorders

  1. Many people do not even realise they have a sleep disorder like obstructive sleep apnea, periodic limb movement, or restless legs syndrome. These rest problems can cause micro-awakenings and fragmented sleep, leading to excessive daytime sleepiness.
  2. Some rest problems affect the neurological mechanisms responsible for regulating the sleep cycle. A few examples of these are conditions like narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia. These sleep issues influence the hormones that keep you awake during the day.
  3. Circadian rhythm disorders affect the body clock. Because of this, a disconnect occurs between the inner body clock and the time when you should stay awake. People suffering from this problem feel excessively sleepy during the daytime and are wide awake when it’s time to rest.

Other health conditions

  1. Chronic medical conditions and mental health issues might cause daytime sleepiness. Some examples are anxiety, depression, lupus, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, obesity, pain, multiple sclerosis, and obesity.
  2. Health conditions have a bidirectional effect on sleep problems. Not resting well can slow down your recovery and may predict the diagnosis of health problems such as Parkinson’s disease.

What may happen if you have daytime sleepiness?

Being sleepy during the day can affect your life in several ways. Some consequences it may have include:

  • Increased risk of road or work accidents
  • Poor quality of life
  • Fights or problems in personal or social relationships
  • Problems with mood regulation and emotions
  • Reduced performance at work or in academics

When should you talk to your doctor?

  • If you feel sleepy all the time and the sleepiness is interfering with your day-to-day life, you must consult a healthcare specialist. He may run a few tests and ask questions about your sleep habits. They may even request an appointment with your sleep partner to ask if you snore, gasp, or move your legs at night. If they suspect a sleep problem to be the underlying cause for your sleepiness, they might refer you to a sleep specialist.
  • For treating excessive daytime sleepiness, the doctor first tries to pinpoint the cause. They may also suggest some good sleep hygiene tips and encourage you to get more rest. They may adjust your meds and develop a treatment plan to cure underlying disorders.

To sum up

Excessive daytime sleepiness can affect your day-to-day life and lead to decreased productivity. So, people dealing with this condition must get an appointment with a healthcare specialist to ensure they wake up their best the following morning.

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