Excessive daytime sleepiness affects 10% to 20% of the population in the United States, and evidence indicates that it is increasing. In a study conducted in 2020, Americans claimed to feel sleepy three days a week on average. This has a substantial impact on their emotional and physical well-being.
Hypersomnia (excessive daytime drowsiness) is a disorder in which individuals fall asleep frequently during the day, often during a meal or during a discussion. Sleepiness and exhaustion are often confused since both are marked by extreme tiredness and may occur in comparable situations, such as staying awake for a prolonged period.
Excessive daytime sleepiness is something to be concerned about because your body may be trying to send signals that you aren’t getting enough rest or have a slumber disorder or another health problem. It’s crucial to understand the indications of excessive daytime drowsiness to figure out what’s causing it and what you can do about it.
It might be challenging to define excessive sleepiness since it can mean different things to people. It’s a generalized sense of exhaustion or tiredness that might persist for a day or for many days. Patients may not realize they have these problems until they see a slumber doctor since these illnesses may cause micro-awakenings that interrupt slumber.
When the upper airway contracts for at least 10 seconds during slumber, apnea advances, and it may happen numerous times every night. In both children and adults, apnea is increasingly widespread in different parts of the world. With apnea, you’ll typically hear snoring and gasping for breath when your airway reopens. However, unless your bed partner informs you of your snoring, you may be unaware that you have apnea. Slumber is disrupted due to your breathing problems, resulting in sleepiness at school, work, or during other activities. Because you can slumber anytime and anywhere, you could think of yourself as an excellent sleeper but this is not the case. Dozing off in traffic or at work could lead to various issues including accidents. Research shows that auto accidents are far more common in those who have apnea than in people who do not. Treatment for this condition includes oral appliance therapy, weight loss, and CPAP.
Narcolepsy is a condition that exhibits sleepiness and other symptoms throughout the day. REM (rapid eye movement) slumber is linked to narcolepsy. Narcolepsy may induce sudden, uncontrolled episodes of slumber, known as slumber attacks, without warning. They cause tiredness that does not improve with time; in most cases, it gets worse.
The rapid loss of muscular control, or cataplexy, is another narcolepsy daytime symptom. This might range from a bit of sense of weakness to a complete collapse of the body. It might last anywhere between a few seconds and a minute. The muscular immobility, or paralysis, during REM sleep, is connected to cataplexy. Emotions and exhaustion are common triggers. You may feel sadness or other symptoms such as impaired focus, attention, or memory if you have narcolepsy. These might be the result of daytime sleepiness, acute exhaustion, and lack of energy caused by good-quality sleep. The treatment methods for narcolepsy include antidepressants and stimulants.
Other sleep-wake disorders have a more substantial impact on the sleep-wake cycle’s neurological systems. Narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia are believed to affect the hormones that promote alertness, resulting in daytime drowsiness. People with circadian rhythm problems, on the other hand, have a misalignment between their internal body clock and when they need to be up. This gap might result in insomnia and excessive tiredness while attempting to nap.
Other Health Conditions
Health and slumber issues can have a reciprocal relationship according to internal medicine doctors. Slumber deprivation may impede healing and signal the onset of health problems like Parkinson’s disease. According to a new study, the tendency to nap during the day may have a hereditary component. One of the most common health conditions that impact one’s slumber patterns includes depression.
Depressive symptoms include persistent feelings of sorrow, worry, and despair. Other signs and symptoms include forgetfulness, lack of attention, and fatigue. Activities that used to be enjoyable are often no longer enjoyable. Back pain and stomach discomfort are two physical indicators of sadness and despair. Slumber issues and tiredness are closely linked to depression. It might be challenging to discern whether depression causes or contributes to slumber issues. Both may be true in certain situations. Nap issues and depression may have analogous risk factors and treatment options. The most effective treatment methods for depression include medications, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and exercise and diet changes.
Other common medical conditions that could lead to excessive daytime sleepiness include: cancer, Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain, hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis, lupus, schizophrenia, and obesity
Approved Treatment Methods
Calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium oxybates (Xywav) have been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat daytime sleepiness in adults. It is thought to function utilizing dopamine and the brain networks involved in wakefulness. It isn’t a stimulant in any way. Furthermore, many persons with hypersomnia benefit from narcolepsy drugs.
The treatment for excessive sleepiness is mostly dependent on the underlying cause. Most doctors will avoid prescribing highly addictive pharmaceuticals to help patients slumber. Patients given a prescription for hypnotics should not use it daily.
On the other hand, some general lifestyle adjustments may help individuals achieve a better night’s slumber. These are some of them:
• Maintaining a consistent slumber schedule eating a healthy,
• Balanced diet
• Minimizing caffeine and alcohol consumption
• Exercising frequently
• Establishing a calming slumber environment
• Having a warm bath before bedtime
According to specialists, the most common cause of daytime tiredness and sleepiness is undiagnosed and untreated slumber problems such as the ones discussed in this article. Seek immediate help from sleep and internal medicine specialists in Fort Lauderdale when you experience excessive daytime sleepiness.