Sleepiness is a condition that affects millions of people across the world. It’s a condition that causes people to feel drowsy and tired. When you’re tired, you can’t think clearly and you can’t function well. The more you’re tired, the harder it becomes to perform simple tasks, such as driving, working, or even reading. Sleepiness has a number of causes, including lack of sleep, being too stressed, or taking certain medications. Sleepiness is also a symptom of other conditions, including depression, anxiety, and heart problems. In this article, we’ll discuss what sleepiness is, how to identify it, and what to do about it.
What is Excessive Sleepiness?
Hypersomnia is a condition in which you feel extreme daytime sleepiness despite getting the sleep that should be adequate (or more than adequate). If you have hypersomnia, you fall asleep several times during the day. Hypersomnia affects your ability to function at work and socially, affects your quality of life, and increases your chance of accidents.
Causes of Excessive Sleepiness
Sleepiness is an increasingly common problem, and its causes are often unknown. Some people are naturally sleepy, while others may become drowsy from medications or alcohol. Other causes of sleepiness can include:
Symptoms of Excessive Sleepiness
Excessive sleepiness is a common symptom of sleep deprivation. It can be caused by a number of factors, including medication and medical conditions, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy. The symptoms of excessive sleepiness can vary depending on the person, but they typically include fatigue, drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, and problems with memory and coordination.
- Sleeping longer than average (10 or more hours) yet still being very sleepy during the day and having difficulty remaining awake during the day.
- Decreased energy.
- Difficulty waking up in the morning (“sleep drunkenness”) or after daytime naps, sometimes appearing confused or combative.
- Loss of appetite.
- Daytime naps don’t lead to improved alertness. They are unrefreshing and nonrestorative.
- Constant, recurrent episodes of extreme sleepiness during the day.
- Anxiety, irritability.
- Slow thinking, slow speech, inability to focus/concentrate, memory problems.
How to Treat Excessive Sleepiness in humans
People with excessive sleepiness often find that they are prescribed medications to help them stay asleep. These medications can be helpful, but often they are recommended along with other treatments, therapies, and behavior modifications. Some of the most common medications used to treat excessive sleepiness include stimulants, sedatives, and hypnotics.
The following are some of the commonly prescribed drugs for patients with EDS.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone produced by the human body to regulate our sleep cycles. This hormone controls our internal clock and helps us fall asleep at night. Our brain produces more melatonin in the evening, signaling to our bodies that it’s time to rest. However, some people struggle with circadian rhythm disorders or jet lag, which can make it challenging for them to fall asleep and wake up on time.
For those who have trouble sleeping or suffer from sleep disorders, taking melatonin supplements before bedtime may be helpful. The supplement can help reset an individual’s natural sleep-wake cycle and improve their overall quality of sleep. It is important to note that taking melatonin supplements should only be done under medical supervision as there are potential side effects if not taken properly.
Modafinil, also known by its brand name Provigil, is a drug that is primarily used to treat excessive sleepiness in patients with narcolepsy and residual sleepiness in certain cases of sleep apnea. This medication works by affecting the sleep-wake centers in the brain, helping individuals stay awake and alert during the day. Because of its effectiveness in treating excessive daytime sleepiness, Provigil has become increasingly popular as a cognitive enhancer among people who do not have any diagnosed medical conditions.
While modafinil is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, there are some potential side effects that users should be aware of. The most common side effect reported by people taking this medication is a headache. However, other side effects can include nervousness or insomnia.
Benzodiazepine receptor agonists like Lunesta, Sonata, and Ambien have commonly prescribed hypnotics that can help individuals struggling with sleep issues. A good night’s rest is essential for overall health and well-being, but many people struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. These types of drugs can be helpful solutions for addressing these issues.
When used appropriately under the guidance of a healthcare provider, benzodiazepine receptor agonists can improve both the quantity and quality of sleep at night. This can lead to reduced daytime sleepiness (EDS) and an overall improvement in one’s quality of life. However, it is important to note that there are risks associated with this class of drugs. Dependence, loss of effectiveness over time, withdrawal symptoms when stopping use, and even overdose are potential dangers if not used properly.
Armodafinil, a wake-promoting agent similar to modafinil, is prescribed to treat sleepiness in patients who have narcolepsy or sleep apnea. It works by stimulating the brain and increasing alertness, making it easier for people with these conditions to stay awake during the day. The medication is usually taken once daily in the morning, with or without food.
As with any medication, there are potential side effects associated with armodafinil. The most common side effects include headache and dizziness; however, these are typically mild and do not require medical attention unless they persist or worsen over time. More serious side effects can occur, such as difficulty breathing or swallowing, depression, or thoughts of self-harm. If any of these symptoms occur while taking armodafinil, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.
Methylphenidate is a central nervous system stimulant that is commonly used to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It works by increasing the release of dopamine in the brain, which helps to improve focus and alertness. This medication can be found under various brand names including Daytrana, Quillivant XR, and Ritalin.
For those who suffer from narcolepsy, methylphenidate can help reduce daytime sleepiness and prevent sudden episodes of falling asleep. For individuals with ADHD, it helps them to concentrate on tasks and control impulsive behavior. However, this medication may not be suitable for everyone as some users may experience side effects such as irritability, nervousness, or difficulty sleeping at night.
Sodium Oxybate, commonly known as Xyrem, is a medication used to treat narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden bouts of sleep. Sodium Oxybate works by increasing the duration of the slow-wave sleep phase, which helps to improve daytime alertness in people with narcolepsy. It also limits the number of interruptions during nighttime sleep.
The exact mechanism by which Sodium Oxybate improves wakefulness during the day is not fully understood yet. However, researchers believe that it may increase the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles. As a result, patients taking this medication experience fewer episodes of sudden sleep onset and are able to stay awake for longer periods.
Starting or stopping any medication can have a significant impact on your overall health. It is essential to consult with your physician before making any changes to your medication regimen. Your doctor will have the best understanding of how different medications interact with each other, and whether or not they are safe for you based on your medical history.
It is critical to disclose all information about your health history, including allergies and any physical or mental health diagnoses. This information will help the physician determine whether certain medications are appropriate for you, taking into account any potential complications that may arise from their use.
In addition to prescription drugs, herbal supplements, and over-the-counter medications can also affect the efficacy of the prescribed medication. Thus it is highly recommended to share all information about other drugs you take with your physician.
Excessive sleepiness is when you feel like you’re constantly tired. You may have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. You may have problems concentrating. You may feel sleepy during the day.
The most common cause of excessive sleepiness is a medical condition called narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that causes sudden bouts of sleepiness. It usually starts in childhood and is not contagious.
Some symptoms of excessive sleepiness are daytime drowsiness, muscle weakness, and low energy.
In conclusion, there are a few things that you can do to treat excessive sleepiness. First, consult with your doctor to determine the underlying reason for your sleepiness. If it is due to a medical condition, then medication may be necessary. If the cause of your excessive sleepiness is due to recreational drugs or alcohol, then Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) may be an effective treatment for you.
If you want to know more about different sleep related disorder check out here.