Excessive Sleepiness Is Caused by Health and Brain Disorders
Excessive drowsiness is marked by excessive yawning, drooping eyelids, and a strong desire to nap during the day. Having trouble staying awake can impact your life at school and at work, put a burden on your social and personal connections, and put you in danger when driving.
It’s natural to question, “Why am I always sleepy?” if you’re constantly tired.
Sleep deprivation and illnesses such as sleep apnea as well as insomnia are by far the most major culprits of excessive drowsiness. Daytime sleepiness can be caused by depression and other psychiatric issues, as well as certain drugs and physical diseases affecting the brain and body.
Recognizing the problem of excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) is the first step toward solving it. Consulting with a doctor to determine the challenges and increase sleep habits can help you be more productive, happier, and healthier on a daily basis.
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness: What Is It?
Excessive daytime sleepiness occurs when you have trouble staying awake or alert when you need to be. Many doctors distinguish EDS from fatigue2, which is characterized by extreme physical tiredness, but the two diseases may coexist.
According to a recent study, excessive drowsiness is a serious issue. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America Poll for 2020, about half of Americans report feeling sleepy three to seven days per week. At least once a day, 40% of adults say that tiredness interferes with their everyday activities.
Some publications refer to EDS as hypersomnia, which is a term that describes sleep disturbances. Hypersomnia, on the other hand, is a broader word that encompasses concerns such as sleeping too much at night, as opposed to acute lethargy during the day or in situations requiring attentiveness.
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness: What Causes It?
Excessive daytime drowsiness is a symptom of an underlying disease, not a condition in and of itself.
Sleep Deprivation Causes Sleepiness
Sleep deprivation is often regarded as the most common cause of excessive drowsiness. Short-term or long-term sleep deprivation can be caused by a variety of sleep disorders and other medical issues.
Failing to Value Sleep:
Deciding to remain up late to watch a show or waking up early to go to the gymnasium are instances of how sleep can be pushed to the bottom of a busy schedule’s priority list. This can result in tiredness the next day, and the problem can become chronic. Insufficient sleep syndrome5 occurs when these choices result in a lack of sleep for an extended length of time.
Insomnia is a group of symptoms that make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep for as long as you wish. Insomnia is frequently linked to the other sleep issues discussed above, which result in excessive tiredness.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a breathing disease that causes brief pauses in breathing throughout the night. It produces disturbed sleep, which can lead to daytime sleepiness and affects up to 20% of adults6. Central sleep apnea (CSA) is less common than obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), although it can still cause sleep disturbances.
RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome):
It is a syndrome that produces a strong urge to move one’s limbs, particularly the legs, and is known to affect overall sleep time and sleep quality.
Circadian Rhythm Sleep-Wake Disorders
Short and fragmented sleep can occur when a person’s sleep schedule is out of sync with their local day-night cycle. Jet lag and sleeping issues among shift workers are two examples.
Sleep insufficiency isn’t just about getting enough sleep; it’s also about getting enough good sleep. People who do not proceed through their sleep cycles smoothly may not obtain adequate deep or REM sleep. As a result, even if they sleep for the necessary number of hours, they may not feel refreshed when they get up.
Any illness that causes pain, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, or herniated discs, can make sleep difficult and leave a person drowsy7 during the day.
Frequent Nighttime Urination:
This condition, known as nocturia, involves the urge to get out of bed in the middle of the night to urinate and is thought to affect up to one out of every three older adults and one out of every five younger people.
Other Medical and Brain Conditions Can Make You Sleepy
Excessive drowsiness can be caused by a variety of factors other than a lack of sleep. Medications, particularly sedatives, can cause drowsiness and disorientation during the day. Other types of drugs that can produce sleepiness include antidepressants, pain relievers, and over-the-counter antihistamines3. Furthermore, some medicines may cause sleepiness during withdrawal.
Drowsiness is a common symptom of mental health issues. Nearly 80% of persons with serious depression9, for example, are thought to be excessively sleepy during the day. Bipolar disorder10, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and general anxiety disorder are associated with sleeping problems that may give rise to bouts of excessive sleepiness.
Excessive daytime drowsiness can be caused by a variety of neurological problems. Narcolepsy is a well-known example, as it is a neurological disorder in which the brain’s sleep-wake cycle is disrupted. Narcolepsy affects about one out of every 2,000 people and causes them to fall asleep quickly, even at inconvenient times.
Sleeping problems and daytime drowsiness are linked to neurodegenerative diseases11 such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Sleeping disorders are frequent after traumatic brain injury (TBI) and concussions, and brain tumours or lesions can induce excessive sleepiness. EDS can be caused by infections such as meningitis13 and infections that induce encephalitis14 (brain swelling).
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which affects millions of children and adults15, results in a variety of sleeping issues16, including daytime tiredness. Daytime sleepiness has been seen in up to 31% of children17 with Autism Spectrum Abnormalities (ASD)18, and sleeping problems may remain into adulthood for those with these neurodevelopmental disorders.
Other health issues, in addition to brain disorders, might make a person tired during the day. Drowsiness can be caused by metabolic issues such as diabetes and hypothyroidism. Anemia, irregular blood salt levels, and electrolyte imbalances are all medical problems that can cause extreme sleepiness.
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness: How to Get Rid of It (EDS)
Most people who suffer from extreme tiredness can find relief. The best treatment for each person is determined by the specific cause or contributing circumstances.
EDS can be caused by a variety of factors, including bad sleeping habits, medical issues, and brain disorders, thus there are many different ways to treat it. A doctor is in the best position to identify and customize the best therapy options for each patient.
If drowsiness is caused by a lack of sleep, there are several steps that can be taken to increase sleep quality and quantity. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) equipment are used to treat sleep apnea, while cognitive-behavioral therapy is used to treat insomnia (CBT-I). Many sleep-related treatments will aid in the improvement of sleep hygiene, which includes a person’s sleeping habits as well as their sleeping environment.
If EDS is linked to another medical condition, treatment is usually geared at curing the underlying problem. Improvements in sleep hygiene may be supported in conjunction with other treatments to assist patients in incorporating healthy sleep habits into their daily routines.