Excessive Daytime Sleepiness is in itself, a diagnosable condition, but it often goes hand in hand with other sleep disorders and medical conditions. One should distinguish between occasional daytime sleepiness, which is normal, and Excessive Daytime Sleepiness, which is chronic.
This problem occurs most often in adolescents, the elderly, and shift workers. Those who suffer from this sleep disorder usually have poorer health and it is one of the symptoms of hypersomnia.
Symptoms of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
The symptoms of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness often begin in the teen years and early twenties and range in severity.
- Persistent sleepiness that interferes with daily activities
- General feeling of fatigue
- Lack of interest in activities
- Feeling of immobility during the transition between sleep and wakefulness
- Sudden compulsion to sleep
- Decreased performance at work or school
Causes of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
The causes of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness are many, but often the cause is simply another sleep disorder.
- Insufficient nighttime sleep or sleep deprivation
- Another sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, hypersomnia, or restless legs syndrome
- Shift work, jet lag, or other circadian rhythm disorder
- Head injuries or traumas
- Brain tumors
- Clinical depression
- Kidney failure
- Central nervous system injury
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Cancer or cancer treatment
Additional Causes of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
It is common that excessive daytime sleepiness is caused by another sleep disorder or a medical condition, but sometimes the cause is self-imposed or due to life factors.
- Self-imposed sleep deprivation (burning the candle at both ends)
- Economic/Financial pressure
- Societal pressures
How to Sleep Better
- Plan and follow a regular sleep schedule
- Set up relaxing bedtime routine and stick to it
- No caffeine after 2 or 3:00 in the afternoon
- No alcoholic beverages or severely limit intake
- Limit intake of liquids in general near bedtime
- Keep your bedroom temperature slightly on the cool side; you will sleep better in a cooler room.
- Keep your bedroom dark and quiet
- Remove every possible distraction from your bedroom
- Use your bedroom only for sleeping
- Quit smoking or at least don’t smoke near bedtime
It has been estimated that people today sleep up to 20% less than they did a hundred years ago.