Updated at: 21-11-2021 - By: Jane Brody

There are a variety of causes for excessive daytime sleepiness. Many people believe that daytime sleepiness is caused by a lack of quality sleep at night, but this isn’t always the case.

Sleep deprivation and daytime sleepiness can have detrimental effects on one’s work or educational performance.2 In addition to having trouble concentrating at work, fatigue can also affect one’s ability to make rational decisions and maintain emotional stability. Another fear is the possibility of an accident on the road.. Fortunately, there are steps you can do to lessen daytime tiredness and ensure you get enough shuteye at night.

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Why Does Daytime Tiredness Occur?

Fatigue is distinct from drowsiness during the day. In other words, when you feel tired, it’s because of a lack of energy or motivation, which can be caused by a variety of things, such as not getting enough sleep or being bored.

Excessive daytime sleepiness can be caused by some sleep problems. These are some examples:

It’s common for people to wake up in the middle of the night because they’re choking or gasping for air because their upper airway is obstructed while they’re asleep. Heavy snoring, another symptom of sleep apnea, can keep people up at night, causing exhaustion for both the sufferer and their bed mate.

The condition known as narcolepsy is characterized by a persistent tendency to nap throughout the daytime, causing disruptions to regular sleep patterns at night. People who suffer from narcolepsy may experience cataplexy, or an abrupt loss of muscular tone, during “sleep attacks.” Narcolepsy is most commonly associated with excessive daytime sleepiness.

People who suffer from hypersomnia are often so exhausted during the day that they are unable to function properly. Hypersomnia, in contrast to narcolepsy, does not result in sleep attacks or cataplexy. Many sufferers of idiopathic hypersomnia, in which the reason is unknown, have this problem.

Those who suffer from DSWPD, or delayed sleep-wake phase disorder, report feeling sleepy and waking up later in the evening than the average person. A person experiences this if their circadian rhythm, which controls their sleep-wake cycle, is not in sync with the cycles of daylight and darkness. Excessive daytime sleepiness might result from attempting to fix a person’s delayed sleep-wake cycle.

The circadian rhythms of most healthy humans will reset every 24 hours to match with daylight and darkness, but people with a non-24-hour sleep-wake rhythm problem do not. For those with this disease, their circadian rhythms are not regulated by a 24-hour clock. Non-24-hour sleep-wake rhythm disorder is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness.

If your employment requires you to be awake at night and asleep during the day, you may have a condition known as shift work disorder (SWD). Depending on the person’s work schedule, the disorder might cause excessive daytime or nighttime sleepiness, as well as sleep disturbances during their permitted rest time.

An further illness, “insufficient sleep syndrome,” happens when people are unable to get adequate sleep at night due to circumstances such as family commitments or a work schedule that compels them to rise before sunrise. Over time, this might lead to daytime fatigue. Insomnia, the most prevalent sleep condition, does not always induce excessive daytime sleepiness. As a result of being unable to sleep, insomniacs often feel fatigued, rather than feeling compelled to sleep because of their exhaustion. Other variables, such as sleep difficulties, can lead to a feeling of exhaustion during the workday. A condition known as jet lag, which affects international visitors adjusting to their new time zone, can cause people to be exhausted during the day. As a result of taking sedatives, many people find themselves exhausted during the day. The extreme sleepiness may also be genetically inherited, according to a study published in 2019.

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How Much Sleep Do You Need?

Adults require seven to eight hours of sleep per night on average, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Nearly a third of respondents to a poll by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they slept less than six hours per night. Insufficient sleep can lead to a variety of health problems, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, as well as mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

The amount of sleep you should receive each night will change throughout your life, as you can see from the suggestions we’ve provided.

You may be able to reduce your sleepiness by just obtaining more sleep if you had an insufficient amount of sleep the night before. In addition, it may be possible to improve your sleep hygiene by going to bed and waking up at the same times each day, avoiding coffee in the afternoons and evenings, and keeping your bedroom peaceful.

However, if you continue to have significant daytime sleepiness, even if you sleep the required amount of time each night, you should see a doctor.

What are sleep disorders?

Disorders that affect your sleep, such as insomnia, can lead to daytime drowsiness, as well as a variety of other symptoms. It’s not uncommon for people to have trouble sleeping from time to time. While it is possible to suffer from a sleep issue if you:

You frequently find it difficult to get to sleep.

Despite getting at least seven hours of sleep the night before, you still feel drowsy during the day.

In general, you’re unable to do the things you’d normally do throughout the day.

More than 100 million people of all ages in the United States do not get enough sleep. A good night’s sleep is really vital. Sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on academic and professional performance, interpersonal relationships, health, and safety, among other things.

How common are sleep disorders?

About 70 million people in the United States suffer from sleep disorders.

How many types of sleep disorders are there?

There are approximately 80 different types of sleep disorders. The top ones are:

  • Insomnia.
  • Sleep apnea.
  • Restless legs syndrome.
  • Narcolepsy.

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How much sleep is necessary?

The recommended amount of sleep for adults ranges from seven to nine hours per night, however some people need more and others need less.

An average of 6.4 hours a night is spent sleeping on weekdays, and 7.7 hours on weekends, according to the National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America poll. Over the previous few years, the poll found that the amount of time spent sleeping has decreased. Internet surfing and office work are common pastimes for people who sleep less than seven hours a night.

Elderly persons (aged 55 to 84) get an average of seven hours of sleep each weekday, and seven hours each weekend, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). In older persons, the desire to go to the bathroom and physical pain or discomfort are the most common causes of sleep disturbances.

Children’s sleep durations are likewise on the decline. The amount of time one needs to sleep in order to function at one’s best is dependent on one’s age. It was previously reported that children’s actual sleep time was 1.5 to 2 hours less than the recommended sleep duration, according to an earlier Sleep in America poll. Drinking caffeinated beverages and watching television in bed each night cost children an average of three to five hours of sleep a week.

What happens when a person doesn’t get enough sleep?

When you don’t get enough or the right kind of sleep, it affects more than just your energy levels. People of all ages, including children, can suffer from learning difficulties, memory loss and mental health issues as a result of sleepiness.

Sleep deprivation can cause frustration, decreased performance, and slowed reaction times, putting people at risk for both work- and vehicle-related accidents. Sleep deprivation has been shown to increase the risk of metabolic disorders such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Who is more likely to have a sleep disorder?

Disorders associated with daytime sleepiness affect females more than males.

What causes sleep disorders?

Sleep problems can be caused by various factors. Although causes might differ, the end result of all sleep disorders is that the body’s natural cycle of slumber and daytime wakefulness is disrupted or exaggerated. Eight factors include:

  • Physical (such as ulcers).
  • Medical (such as asthma).
  • Psychiatric (such as depression and anxiety disorders).
  • Environmental (such as alcohol).
  • Working the night shift (this work schedule messes up “biological clocks.”)
  • Genetics (narcolepsy is genetic).
  • Medications (some interfere with sleep).
  • Aging (about half of all adults over the age of 65 have some sort of sleep disorder. It is not clear if it is a normal part of aging or a result of medicines that older people commonly use).

What are the symptoms of sleep disorders?

You might have a sleep disorder if you experience one or more of the following symptoms. Do you:

  • Fall asleep while driving?
  • Struggle to stay awake when inactive, such as when watching television or reading?
  • Have difficulty paying attention or concentrating at work, school, or home?
  • Have performance problems at work or school?
  • Often get told by others that you look sleepy?
  • Have difficulty with your memory?
  • Have slowed responses?
  • Have difficulty controlling your emotions?
  • Need to take naps almost every day?

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder where people have difficulty falling or staying asleep. People with insomnia have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty falling asleep.
  • Waking up often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep.
  • Waking up too early in the morning.
  • Having unrefreshing sleep.
  • Having at least one daytime problem such as fatigue, sleepiness, problems with mood, concentration, accidents at work or while driving, etc. due to poor sleep.

When it comes to insomnia, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. A little more than half of all individuals have sporadic episodes of sleeplessness, and one in ten people have chronic insomnia. It is possible to suffer from insomnia on its own, or it might be linked to other medical or psychological issues. Short-term (acute or adjustment insomnia) or long-term (chronic insomnia) insomnia can occur (chronic insomnia). A person’s sleep disorders might come and go, and there may be periods of time when they don’t have any issues. From one night to a few weeks, acute or adjustment insomnia might be a problem. When a person experiences insomnia on at least three nights per week for a month or more, it is considered chronic insomnia.

Many circumstances might induce temporary or acute insomnia, such as job loss or change, the death or moving to a new location of a close family member, or an illness like a cold or flu.

Many causes can contribute to chronic insomnia (insomnia that lasts for at least three months or more), including depression, chronic stress, and nighttime pain or discomfort.

A conditioned emotional response is a typical cause of chronic insomnia. “What if I don’t fall asleep tonight?” thoughts and actions that arise around the insomnia problem (e.g., sleeping in, napping, brooding in bed) tend to prolong the symptoms of insomnia.

What is sleep apnea?

This sleep condition can be extremely dangerous since it occurs when a person’s breathing is disrupted when they are in a deep sleep. It is common for people to stop breathing while they sleep untreated.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA) are both forms of OSA.

The more prevalent kind of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). When the soft tissue in the back of the throat contracts during sleep, it causes a blockage in the airway. Snoring, daytime drowsiness, weariness, restlessness during sleep, gasping for air while asleep, and difficulty concentrating are all possible symptoms of OSA.

When the brain fails to communicate with the body, the airway is not closed, but the body does not know to breathe. This is central sleep apnea. As the name suggests, this type of sleep apnea is associated with the central nervous system. People with CSA may gasp for oxygen, but they are more likely to report a number of nighttime awakenings.

What is restless legs syndrome?

As a result of RLS, many people find it difficult to sleep at night because they feel compelled to move their legs. Resting, such as lying down in bed, or sitting for long periods of time, such as while driving or in a theater, can cause this sensation. It is tough to get to sleep and stay asleep when you have RLS. It can cause tiredness, irritation, and difficulty concentrating during the day. RLS sufferers often seek relief by moving their legs and shaking them vigorously.

What is narcolepsy?

When it comes to regulating sleep and wakefulness, narcolepsy is a neurological condition. Excessive daytime sleepiness and occasional, uncontrollable daytime slumber are symptoms of narcolepsy. Sudden sleep episodes can occur at any time of the day or night, regardless of the type of activity one is engaged in. With laughter or other emotions, some narcoleptics experience muscle weakness.

Between the ages of 15 and 25, people are most likely to develop narcolepsy, however it can occur at any age. Narcolepsy is often misdiagnosed and untreated.

How are sleep disorders diagnosed?

Consult with your doctor about your symptoms if you suspect that you have a sleep condition. He or she can conduct a physical examination and assist you in determining the source of your sleep issues. You may find it beneficial to keep a sleep journal for two weeks. Your doctor may conduct testing to rule out other disorders that may be causing your sleep disturbances.

A sleep disorder clinic may be recommended by your doctor if he or she feels you have a sleep condition. An expert in sleep medicine will examine your symptoms and recommend a sleep study.

A polysomnogram (PSG) or sleep study is a test that electronically transmits and records various physical actions while you are sleeping. For some patients, a sleep study can be performed at home (home sleep apnea testing). A skilled healthcare physician can use the recordings to assess if you have a sleep issue based on the data they contain.

Keep a sleep journal and talk about the patterns and characteristics of your sleep with your healthcare professional in order to identify if you have a sleep disorder Behavioral therapy and an increased focus on sleep hygiene can be used to treat several common sleep disorders. If you have any questions or worries about your sleep, see a doctor.

What questions might my healthcare provider ask to diagnose a sleep disorder?

  • How many hours do you sleep at night?
  • Do you toss and turn in your sleep?
  • Do you take naps?
  • How long does it take you to fall asleep?
  • Do you wake up in the middle of the night?
  • Do you work a night shift?
  • How sleepy do you feel during the day?

How are sleep disorders treated?

There are a variety of treatments recommended by healthcare providers:

  • Counseling: Some sleep specialists recommend cognitive behavior therapy. Such counseling helps you “recognize, challenge and change stress-inducing thoughts” that can keep you awake at night.
  • Medications and/or supplements.
  • Practice sleep hygiene such as keeping a regular sleep schedule.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Minimize noise.
  • Minimize light.
  • Manage the temperature so that you’re comfortable.
  • Your healthcare provider will recommend treatments based on your unique situation.

What medicines may help with sleep disorders?

Your healthcare provider may recommend some of the following medications and supplements:

  • Sleep aids may be helpful in some cases of insomnia, including melatonin, zolpidem, zaleplon, eszopiclone, ramelteon, suvorexant, lamborexant, or doxepin.
  • Restless legs syndrome can be treated with gabapentin, gabapentin enacarbil, or pregabalin.
  • Narcolepsy may be treated with a number of stimulants or wake-promoting medications, such as modafinil, armodafinil, pitolisant and solriamfetol.

Should I see a specialist?

Ask your healthcare provider for a referral to a sleep specialist, if necessary.

What are some tips for getting a good night’s sleep?

It’s important to ensure that your bedroom is as comfortable as possible, as well as peaceful and silent. Try utilizing “white noise” or earplugs if noise keeps you awake. Using a sleep mask or blackout curtains can help block out light that’s keeping you up at night.

Think positively. A negative mindset, such as “How am I going to get through the day tomorrow if I don’t get enough sleep tonight?” should be avoided when going to bed at night.

Make sure that your bed is only used for sleeping and having sex. The bedroom should be a place where you do not watch television or eat or work or use laptops.

Make a to-do list or write down any last-minute thoughts you have before going to bed. If you’re prone to worrying and daydreaming as you sleep, this can help.

Take a warm bath, listen to relaxing music, or read before you go to bed to help you relax. Try hypnosis, meditation, biofeedback, or relaxation exercises. Wake up at the same time every day, even whether you’re on vacation or taking a day off.

Stop glancing at the time. Use simply the alarm clock to wake you up in the morning. If you can’t fall asleep in 20 minutes, leave your room. Relax in another room by reading or engaging in a calming pastime.

Avoid taking a sleep. Sit down and get some rest if you’re feeling very tired. It’s fine, though, to take a 30-minute nap, but not after 3pm.

Stay away from caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea and soda for at least four hours before night. You may find it easier to fall asleep if you eat light carbohydrate snacks like milk, yogurt, or crackers.

Drinking drink and smoking cigarettes at least four hours before and during the night will help you sleep better.

If you have difficulties sleeping, avoid exercising within four hours of bedtime.

What foods or drinks should I take or avoid to reduce my risk of a sleep disorder?

Avoid the following:

  • Caffeinated drinks such as soda and coffee in the late afternoon or evening.
  • Diet pills.
  • Decongestants.
  • Antidepressants (these can suppress REM sleep, but never discontinue antidepressants without permission from your healthcare provider).
  • Tobacco.
  • Alcohol.

How long will I have a sleep disorder?

Times vary, and it also depends on what type of sleep disorder you have. Discuss a timeline with your healthcare provider, taking treatments into consideration.

When should I see my healthcare provider?

See a healthcare provider about your sleep if it’s disrupting your quality of life.

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