If you worked late or attended a late party, you will probably be tired the next day. Occasional bouts of daytime sleepiness don't mean you have a disorder. However, for some people, daytime sleepiness is excessive. They have serious struggles with staying awake most days. If this sounds like you, keep reading to learn more about the causes of this excessive sleep disorder.
Symptoms of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
People who have excessive daytime sleepiness often feel an extreme need for sleep during the day. Some people have so much trouble staying awake that they often fall asleep without realizing it. Other symptoms of this disorder include:
- Slow reaction times
- Inability to concentrate
- Feeling more irritable than usual
- Not feeling refreshed after a nap
- Trouble waking up in the morning
Effects of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
Being unable to stay awake during the day and having an inability to focus can have a great effect on your life. For one, you are at high risk of falling asleep at inappropriate times like while driving. You won't be able to perform well at work. Your personal relationships could also suffer. Plus, you won't feel well, and your quality of life suffers.
Causes of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
Some people have lifestyle habits and responsibilities that cause daytime sleepiness. Staying up late and shift work are two examples of non-medical causes. The disorder also has several medical causes. Examples of these causes include:
- Sleep apnea, a condition where you stop breathing during the night.
- Narcolepsy, a disorder where you fall asleep suddenly without warning.
- Psychiatric conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
- Restless leg syndrome, a condition where you have an uncontrollable urge to move your legs.
- Neurological conditions like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, or multiple sclerosis.
Treatments for Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
Treatment for excessive daytime sleepiness depends on the underlying cause. For example, many people with sleep apnea benefit from various devices to open up their airways. These devices allow them to get a night of deeper sleep at night and feel more rested afterward.
Restless leg syndrome and narcolepsy patients may benefit from various medications. People with psychiatric conditions may do well with therapies combined with medications. A neurologist and sleep specialist can help with treatments after they diagnose their cause.
If you feel very sleepy during the day, check your sleep habits. For many people, simply changing their routine is enough to reduce symptoms. However, if your sleepiness persists despite good habits, talk to a sleep center. They will have you go through tests to determine the cause and provide a treatment plan for you.