October 10, 2015
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Problem Sleepiness

Problem sleepiness facts*

*Problem sleepiness facts medical author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

  • Problem sleepiness occurs when sleepiness during the day interferes with work or social functioning.
  • Symptoms of problem sleepiness may include difficulty concentrating, falling asleep while driving, or problems with emotional control.
  • There are a number of causes of problem sleepiness, including sleep disorders; other medical conditions; certain medications; substances like drugs, alcohol, or caffeine; or an altered sleep-wake cycle.
  • Sleep disorders include narcolepsy, insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless legs syndrome.
  • Sleepiness is a major cause of motor vehicle accidents, poor school performance, and depressed mood.
  • Shift workers are especially susceptible to sleepiness and its risks.
  • Treatment may consist of improving sleep hygiene and avoiding precipitating factors.

What is problem sleepiness?

Everyone feels sleepy at times. However, when sleepiness interferes with daily routines and activities, or reduces the ability to function, it is called "problem sleepiness." A person can be sleepy without realizing it. For example, a person may not feel sleepy during activities such as talking and listening to music at a party, but the same person can fall asleep while driving home afterward.

What are the symptoms of problem sleepiness?

You may have problem sleepiness if you:

  • consistently do not get enough sleep, or get poor quality sleep;
  • fall asleep while driving;
  • struggle to stay awake when inactive, such as when watching television or reading;
  • have difficulty paying attention or concentrating at work, school, or home;
  • have performance problems at work or school;
  • are often told by others that you are sleepy;
  • have difficulty remembering;
  • have slowed responses;
  • have difficulty controlling your emotions; or
  • must take naps on most days.

Source: MedicineNet.com

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