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Excessive Daytime Sleepiness: Symptoms, Causes, and Natural Treatment

Are you constantly asking yourself, “Why am I so sleepy?” Find out the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS).

  

This article (and all articles on this website) exists for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat or diagnose any disease. Contact your physician when dealing with any medical condition, or call 9-1-1 immediately if you are in an emergency situation.

 

Nobody is completely immune from getting tired. As humans, it’s natural to get sleepy at the close of each day. However, some people suffer from more than the normal amount of “sleepiness”. Do you constantly wonder, “Why am I so tired?” or “Why am I sleepy all day?” Then you may be experiencing something called Excessive Daytime Sleepiness, or EDS, for short.


While everybody occasionally experiences fatigue and may even feel exhausted a day or two in a row, excessive sleepiness is something else entirely. Excessive Daytime Sleepiness is more than this. It is a consistent and persistent feeling of sleepiness that pervades daily life on a regular basis, despite apparently getting adequate sleep at night.


You should also know that you are most certainly not alone. An estimated 20% (or about 1 in every 5 people) suffers from Excessive Daytime Sleepiness in the United States, which is generally defined as sleepiness that interferes with your daily activities.


The primary symptom of EDS is, of course, feeling sleepy during the day, but the causes are much more varied. Additionally, EDS can have lasting negative effects on an individual’s life and wellbeing. Throughout this article, we’re going to look at what causes Excessive Daytime Sleepiness, the results of this condition, and some of the treatments available to help EDS sufferers get back to a normal life.

 

An estimated 20% (or about 1 in every 5 people) suffers from Excessive Daytime Sleepiness in the United States, which is generally defined as sleepiness that interferes with your daily activities.

What Causes Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS)?

According to American Family Physician, the root cause of EDS could be one of a number of things, or a combination of these separate factors:


“The most common causes of excessive daytime sleepiness are sleep deprivation, obstructive sleep apnea, and sedating medications. Other potential causes of excessive daytime sleepiness include certain medical and psychiatric conditions and sleep disorders, such as narcolepsy.”


Given the condition itself, this list isn’t too surprising. If you suffer from sleep deprivation, you’re far more likely to also experience heightened daytime sleepiness as a result. Other potential causes, such as sleep apnea, are less obvious, and can even go undetected. In many cases, sleep apnea can only be diagnosed at a sleep clinic where an individual undergoes overnight testing to monitor and determine sleeping patterns and health conditions. Because of this, many EDS sufferers may not even know that they have sleep apnea, leaving the root cause of their sleepiness unresolved.

 

If you suffer from sleep deprivation, you’re far more likely to also experience heightened daytime sleepiness as a result.

 

For others, such as narcolepsy patients, the cause of their exhaustion is more obvious, and perhaps more pronounced. Narcoleptics, by their nature, are prone to falling into deep REM sleep at any time of the day or night, regardless of the situation or environment in which they find themselves. For these individuals, there’s less of a question regarding the underlying source of their sleepiness.


To determine what’s causing your own excessive daytime sleepiness, you can take a look at your own habits and daily activities, as well as your medications, to see if something is contributing to your exhaustion. As with any medical situation or question, you should always consult with a physician in order to properly assess and treat your condition in the best and safest possible manner.

 

To determine what’s causing your own excessive daytime sleepiness, you can take a look at your own habits and daily activities, as well as your medications, to see if something is contributing to your exhaustion.

  

 

What Are the Effects of EDS?

“Excessive daytime sleepiness can have diverse and serious consequences. Sleep problems contribute to more than 100,000 motor vehicle incidents that result in 71,000 personal injuries and 1,500 deaths annually. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, up to 52 percent of single vehicle crashes involving heavy trucks are fatigue-related, with the driver falling asleep in 17.6 percent of cases.”


You’ve likely seen label warnings indicating that you shouldn’t drive or operate heavy machinery while under the influence of the medication. According to the FDA, this is true of many drugs, both OTC (over-the-counter) and prescription, including muscle relaxants, sleeping pills, and even some pain medications and motion sickness relievers


Unfortunately, Excessive Daytime Sleepiness functions similarly in its ability to impair car drivers or those attempting to operate machinery, such as landscaping, construction, or warehouse equipment. As the effects pile up, it’s not hard to see how difficult life with EDS can be on a day-to-day basis.

 

 

How to Cure Excessive Daytime Sleepiness?

As with any medical condition that may have one (or several) of a number of fundamental health issues beneath it, EDS is often best treated by dealing with the physical or mental stressor precipitating it. Once the root cause is determined, the condition itself can begin to be brought under control, with the prospect of returning the patient to a normal life.

 

Unfortunately, Excessive Daytime Sleepiness functions similarly in its ability to impair car drivers or those attempting to operate machinery, such as landscaping, construction, or warehouse equipment. As the effects pile up, it’s not hard to see how difficult life with EDS can be on a day-to-day basis.


Here’s how the Sleep Foundation puts it:


The best way to treat excessive sleepiness is to address its underlying cause. Often this means making changes to your sleep schedule, habits and routines, stress management, or sleeping environment. If you are diagnosed with a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, a treatment course that involves a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP) is often the most effective course.”


In other words, there isn’t one single method for preventing or curing Excessive Daytime Sleepiness. The prescribed treatment will depend entirely on an individual’s own root cause. For some, it may be as simple as getting to sleep earlier, exercising more regularly, or drinking less caffeine before bed. For others, it may require medical equipment or medication to alleviate the condition more fully.

 

 

EDS and the Ideal Sleep Environment

If you find that your own sleepiness during the day is simply the result of an uncomfortable sleeping environment, then there are a few things you can do right away. These include creating a comfortable bedroom environment, bedroom temperature control, and optimizing your bed for the best possible sleep each and every night.


Here’s more good news: we happen to be experts in perfecting your sleeping environment. Take a look at our organic mattresses, pillows, and sheets to see what we offer. Have specific questions? Give us a call or email anytime. We can’t wait to help you.

 

 

Neal Tucker

Neal Tucker is a writer living in Los Angeles. Learn more about him at nealtuckercopy.com.