Daytime Sleepiness

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Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) is a sleep disorder. People who have EDS feel very drowsy during the day and have an overwhelming urge to fall asleep, even after getting enough nighttime sleep. They often doze, nap, or fall asleep when they need or want to be awake and alert. This can be dangerous when driving a car or operating machinery. This disorder is also called hypersomnia or somnolence.

How does it occur?

Excessive daytime sleepiness is not caused by lack of sleep. If you feel tired or sluggish during the day because you are not getting a normal amount of sleep, you do not have EDS. EDS is usually caused by a physical condition such as:

  • a tumor, head trauma, or injury to the central nervous system
  • another sleep disorder such as narcolepsy or sleep apnea
  • medicines such as tranquilizers and sleeping pills
  • drug or alcohol abuse
  • heredity
  • withdrawal from caffeine, alcohol, or stimulants

Medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, depression, encephalitis, epilepsy, or obesity may contribute to the disorder. Sometimes there is no known cause. EDS is most common in teenagers and young adults.

What are the symptoms?

  • constant sleepiness
  • frequent napping
  • long nighttime sleeping
  • irritability
  • mild depression
  • memory loss
  • lack of concentration

People with this disorder may feel frustrated and angry because others think they are lazy or uninterested. EDS may cause problems in the workplace and with family and friends.