Daytime sleepiness: causes and treatment

Daytime sleepiness: causes and treatment

Being sleepy and feeling particularly lazy once in a while is certainly not unusual, but if these symptoms occur frequently (for example, over a period of several months or more than 2 days a week) and interfere with work, school , activities or relationships, then you are probably experiencing an unpleasant and excessive one daytime sleepiness.

This is a fairly common phenomenon: about 20 percent of people suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, making this condition one of the most frequent "complained" to doctors. Also be aware that daytime sleepiness is not a disorder in itself, but a symptom of conditions that can have serious health effects, such as sleep apnea or obstructive narcolepsy, or a side effect of certain medications, or bad habits. of sleep.

Sleepiness can manifest itself in different people in different ways and, in general, it doesn't matter how it presents itself: it can be the sign of a problem to be addressed and, precisely for this reason, it should not be underestimated.

Symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness

L'excessive daytime sleepiness, which is also referred to as excessive sleepiness or hypersomnia, can be defined as a set of daily episodes characterized by the need to sleep during the day.

More precisely, daytime sleepiness is considered excessive when one fails to stay awake and alert during the main waking hours of the day, with sleep occurring involuntarily or at inappropriate times almost daily for at least 3 months.

Other symptoms of daytime sleepiness are often being tired or unable to stay awake during the day, not being productive at work and making mistakes often, having gaps in judgment or difficulty focusing, not being able to fully enjoy or participate in activities social, and so on.

Therefore, daytime sleepiness, if excessive, it's not just tiredness. It can cloud your thinking, slow down your reaction time, and negatively affect your memory.

The causes of excessive daytime sleepiness

There main cause of excessive daytime sleepiness it is not a disorder or an underlying condition, but rather the lack of adequate sleep duration. Adults should try to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night, but most adults actually sleep less than 7 hours, and in the long run, you can suffer severe setbacks from this bad habit.

In turn, excessive daytime sleepiness can be caused by several factors such as sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea or more rarely narcolepsy, stress at work and in private life, which can help keep you awake, alcohol , use of recreational drugs and prescription drugs, loud noise that can keep many people awake even at night (and, unfortunately, silencing these sources of disturbance can be out of your control), shift work, and so on.

Treatment for excessive daytime sleepiness

There are several treatments you may choose to use to help remedy excessive daytime sleepiness. Among the main ones:

  • maintain a regular sleep routine. Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time, ideally every night of the week
  • don't take naps. Naps reduce the amount of sleep needed the next night, causing sleep fragmentation and difficulty falling asleep at bedtime;
  • turn off the TV and other electronic devices. The bed is a resting place, and staring at computer, cell phone, and laptop screens can over-stimulate the brain and keep you awake;
  • avoid caffeinated drinks. The effects of caffeine last for several hours, so skip drinks like coffee, tea and soda later in the day;
  • getting regular exercise. Physical exercise promotes continuous sleep, but avoids physical exercise close to the night;
  • maintain a quiet and comfortable bedroom. Set the bedroom thermostat to a comfortable temperature and maintain sufficient dark conditions.

Diagnosis of excessive daytime sleepiness

L'excessive daytime sleepiness it can be difficult to diagnose because it can be confused with other health conditions, including general “fatigue”. It can also be confused with depression, because both conditions can decrease the desire to engage in "normal activities", and even those that were once enjoyed.

This is why it is very often advisable to consult a sleep specialist, who can correctly identify the root cause and discuss treatment options accordingly.

At that point, even on the basis of any series of tests that will be requested by the doctor, the specialist will certainly be able to direct you towards the best "cure" of this condition.

Our advice is therefore to promptly contact your trusted doctor and share your state of health with him, avoiding underestimating this condition which, although widespread, could still affect your well-being.

Video: The 6 Signs of High Functioning Depression. Kati Morton (January 2022).