Feeling Sleepy All the Time? This May Not Be a Healthy Sign

In the best interest of your health and well being, it is advisable to seek medical opinion if you feel sleepy all the time, as it may be a sign of a significant sleep disorder, especially when it is without any known cause.

What could be the possible causes behind feeling sleepy all the time? 

One of the prime reasons for most Americans to feel drowsy or sleepy throughout the day is sleep deprivation, a condition that happens when an individual is not getting enough sleep. In this regard, you are not alone.

56% of American adults are seriously sleep deprived. In a scientific study consisting of a thousand people, close to 34% were found to be ‘dangerously sleepy’. Many say that it is self-imposed, in the sense that people may just skip sleep in order to do more. Considering demands of modern life, this is highly likely.  Jet lags, long working hours, changes in work shift are reasons that make people feel excessively sleepy.

Then there are several sleep disorders that may deprive one of sleep. These are: 

–          Sleep disordered breathing including snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, marked by recurrent pauses in breathing.

–          Insomnia could also make one feel sleepy all the time or fatigued. Other than making a person feel over sleepy, insomnia can also result in memory and concentration problems, irritability, etc.

–          Narcolepsy is another kind of sleep disorder marked by sudden sleep attacks and other symptoms. This disorder also causes disabling sleepiness.

–          A tickling sensation in the leg during sleep may keep one awake and cause sleep deprivation. Known as restless leg syndrome or RLS, this disorder is often mistaken for insomnia since the problem gets aggravated most in the night.

A number of physical, medical (diabetes, chronic pain, excess calcium in blood – hypercalcemia,  certain mental conditions, certain medications like tranquilizers, sleeping pills, antihistamines can also result in excessive sleepiness.

Is there any prescribed amount of sleep that an adult should get every night in order to avoid feeling sleepy all the time?

Though feeling over-sleepy once in a while does not cause any immediate physiological damage, it does impact the way one feels as well as brain functioning and negatively affects one’s overall quality of life.

While different people need different amounts of sleep, according to National Institutes of Health, most healthy adults need between 7.5 and 9 hours of sleep per night in order to function optimally during the day.

Can over-sleepiness be treated? 

The reasons could be varied as to why someone should feel sleepy all the time.  Knowing what the precise reason is the first step towards overcoming the problem. Behavioral as well as drug therapies yield effective results in the treatment of over-sleepiness.

For example is the sleepiness is linked to a medical condition like sleep apnea, doctors prefer using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or oral devices. When the cause is narcolepsy or non-compliance with CPAP therapy, doctors might prefer effective medication.

Some self-help strategies include:

–          Maintaining strict sleep schedule

–          Improving bed room environment

–          Avoiding coffee and alcohol,

–          Following relaxation schedule before going to sleep.

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