Daytime sleepiness is so common that many people accept it as part of everyday life. After all, it’s perfectly natural to feel sleepy after a heavy lunch, right?
However, if your daytime sleepiness hinders you from doing your daily tasks, it may be time to visit your doctor or an insomnia clinic. Feeling sleepy all the time can be caused by several factors. It can signify a health issue like sleep apnea or excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). Consult your doctor to help you understand your daytime sleepiness and how you can deal with it.
What is Excessive Daytime Sleepiness?
Those experiencing Excessive Daytime Sleepiness or EDS cannot maintain wakefulness or alertness throughout the day. You may feel so tired and fatigued that you end up falling asleep unintentionally if you are suffering from EDS. This sleep disorder isn’t a one-time occurrence—it occurs chronically, every day for at least three months.
EDS is usually associated with fatigue, which is described as a lack of physical or mental energy. A person suffering from fatigue has difficulties concentrating, feels too weak to begin a task, and is quick to feel tired.
While fatigue is often linked to tiredness, it is different from just feeling tired or sleepy. Normal tiredness can be resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep, while sleepiness may also be relieved after exercising.
Interestingly, men and women will often experience EDS differently. Men will report feeling “tired” and wanting to nap. Women will usually report feeling “fatigued” and unmotivated or unable to complete tasks. While this is a subtle difference, it is important when using standardized questionnaires as diagnosis tools to understand these factors.
Is There a Major Health Issue When You Experience Fatigue or Sleepiness?
Fatigue is traditionally not associated with any severe illness, but we now know that poor sleep is associated to chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. You should see your doctor for a proper diagnosis if you are suffering from chronic tiredness.
Suppose you think you are getting enough sleep, a well-balanced diet, and regular exercise, but you find it difficult to concentrate, be motivated, or get things done at your usual level. In that case, you may be suffering from chronic fatigue that needs further diagnosis and treatment.
Below are some of the possible causes that your doctor is likely to investigate:
Your Sleep Habits
The biggest reason why you tend to be sleepy in the daytime is that you likely lack enough sleep at nighttime. Improving your sleep habits (sometimes called sleep hygiene) can help improve your energy levels during the day. It’s best to avoid doing rigorous exercises within a few hours of bedtime, sleeping late in the day, or sleeping in an uncomfortable area.
The way you live can greatly affect your sleeping habits and energy levels. Your doctor may probe into certain parts of your life, including your work schedule, stress levels, screen time, and possible overexertion.
Lacking the energy to work may mean that you lack nutrients from which you get energy. Skipping meals and eating unhealthy food are the common reasons why you lack energy as you lack proper nutrition. Additionally, your body’s nutritional state may also influence your daytime sleepiness, like blood sugar fluctuations, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, alcohol consumption, and too much caffeine intake.
Daytime sleepiness is a common symptom of inadequate or poor sleep. However, if you are experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness over several months, it could be a symptom of a sleep disorder or a health condition that requires medical attention. It is important to identify and treat the cause of sleep disorders because it will improve the quality of sleep and the likelihood of developing other issues.
Seek a doctor’s recommendation or ask for a referral to a specialist and visit a sleep clinic in North Vancouver or near you if you have persistent sleepiness or fatigue. Sleep Better Live Better is a sleep clinic you can trust. Dr. Muir and her qualified sleep team have helped thousands of patients find healthy sleep solutions. Book a consultation today!