Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
Falling asleep at inappropriate times, such as while eating, talking, or driving, is a sign of excessive daytime sleepiness.
Excessive daytime sleepiness can have serious consequences, such as:
- Motor vehicle accidents. Sleepiness may be the main cause of over one-third of all fatal traffic accidents and as many as one-half of all traffic accidents.
- Poor school performance. Sleepiness can cause impaired learning, perceptual skills, and memory, which may lead to poor school performance and grades.
- Work-related accidents. Sleepiness on the job causes performance errors and increases the risk of accidents.
The most common cause of daytime sleepiness is not allowing enough time for a full night's sleep (chronic sleep deprivation)—the demands of our schedules dictate that we wake up to an alarm, not when we are fully rested, and we often stay up long after our body tells us it needs to sleep. Shift workers and teens have a particularly high risk of chronic sleep deprivation.
How much sleep a person needs varies with age and from person to person. The number of hours you sleep is not as important as how you feel when you wake up. If you to do not feel refreshed, you probably need more sleep. Feeling tired during the daytime is another sign you are not getting enough sleep. Many times, simple home treatment can help you get the sleep you need.
If you have tried home treatment and still have excessive daytime sleepiness, call your doctor to evaluate your symptoms.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: December 13, 2010|
|Medical Review:||Reference William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Reference David Messenger, MD