Sometimes you experience so much sleepiness during the day that it is difficult to perform your usual tasks efficiently. Generally, this is due to common reasons such as lack of restful sleep at night. However, it could also indicate a more serious problem.
There are many people in the world who experience so much sleep in the day that they cannot carry out their normal activities in the proper way. However, it is estimated that 90% of those who have this problem are not aware of it. They just let it pass, without paying attention to it.
The issue is worrying, because when a person is so sleepy, they are prone to making mistakes and suffering accidents. Also, this continued drowsiness makes us more vulnerable to deterioration of mood, psychosocial problems and a reduction in cognitive capacity.
Keep in mind that sometimes someone feels so sleepy simply because they haven’t slept well or because they are overworked. These are transitory cases. However, in other cases, drowsiness is present continuously and this can be due to significant health problems.
There is talk of excessive drowsiness when a person feels the need to sleep during their usual activities or, indeed, falls asleep involuntarily during the day. Similarly, when 8 hours of sleep at night is not enough and you want to sleep longer. This condition is known as hypersomnia and is characterized by a state of drowsiness during the day. It is very important to identify the reasons why you feel so sleepy, especially when this condition is constant and cannot be overcome even if there is rest.
There is talk of mild hypersomnia when someone feels drowsy when doing monotonous or boring activities. It is very normal for this to happen. There is moderate hypersomnia when sleep occurs in activities that require concentration.
Hypersomnia is severe if someone feels like sleeping in almost all situations and also experiences so much sleepiness that they fall asleep without trying. It is normal for an adult to feel fully awake after sleeping for up to nine hours.
Why do you feel so sleepy?
Hypersomnia’s are classified into two groups: primary and secondary. The primary ones are those in which excess sleep is the basic symptom. The secondary ones correspond to the cases in which this is the result of other disorders, medications or sleep disorders and are the most frequent.
Within the primary hypersomnias we find the following:
- Narcolepsy. It is a complex neurological disorder in which the person experiences uncontrollable sleep episodes. You can literally fall asleep even while standing. This happens especially in situations that provoke strong emotions.
- Idiopathic hypersomnia. It occurs when people sleep more than 11 hours and still do not have a good night’s sleep. The reason why this occurs is unknown.
- Kleine-Levin syndrome. It occurs in adolescence, mainly in males. Those affected have stages in which they sleep up to 18 hours at a time and during wakefulness they are irritable and confused.
Secondary hypersomnia cases are much more common than primary hypersomnia. There are many conditions that can be part of this list; however, the most frequent are the following:
- Sleep apnea. It occurs when nighttime sleep is interrupted, because breathing becomes too shallow or stops. It is one of the main reasons many people experience so much sleep during the day.
- Interrupted sleep and insomnia. In both cases, there is no restful sleep at night and this leads to drowsiness during the day.
- Other. Excessive daytime sleepiness is one of the symptoms of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Likewise, it can be the effect of depression or the consumption of a drug that generates this side effect.
Are there more causes?
Some research has indicated that there is a relationship between excessive sleepiness and smoking, alcoholism and sedentary lifestyle. They also indicate that this is a frequent symptom among those with cardiovascular problems or inflammatory diseases.
Sometimes a person experiences so much sleep during the day simply for reasons that can be easily fixed. Not drinking enough water causes symptoms of dehydration to appear, one of which is drowsiness. For this reason, it is important to stay hydrated.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and when the proper amount of nutrients is not ingested, drowsiness can occur. Excess stress, as well as the high consumption of sugars and fats and obesity, also makes you want to sleep more frequently.