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Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

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The human body and mind are part of a machine that requires nourishment and rest in order for it to fulfill its potential and function at its best. A balanced diet takes care of the fueling the body, but equally important is proper rest and relaxation that revives both mind and body. Eight hours of sleep a day has always been the prescribed amount to ensure that the body is rejuvenated, but these days there is more focus on the right amount of sleep at the right time.


Inadequate sleep or sleeping at the 'wrong time' delivers an insufficient amount of rest to the body and mind. It is vital to get at least seven hours of continuous sleep, and splitting up your sleep will not give you the rest you require.


While inadequate sleep is something that too many of us suffer from, there are some of us that feel sleepy all the time. Excessive daytime sleepiness is an actual condition that many suffer from, up to 12% of the general population. Those who suffer from Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) are prone to side effects that may be debilitating to one's life. Decreased ability to work, perform at school, decreased focus and concentration and thus an increased possibility of accidents all make Excessive Daytime Sleepiness, a serious condition.


What is Excessive Daytime Sleepiness?

Excessive Daytime Sleepiness is a condition in which a person feels sleepy or drowsy constantly. He or she also experiences a general lack of energy and a compromised attention span despite an apparently healthy amount of sleep through the night. Those who suffer from this condition find themselves feeling sleepy at several unlikely situations and places, be it at work or during a meal and are compelled to take a nap.


This need to nap does not necessarily arise because a person is simply tired or did not sleep well the night before; excessive daytime sleepiness is a condition that may occur despite good rest. Other side effects include irritability, anxiety, loss of appetite, low energy levels, decreased mental processes and even poor memory. To be diagnosed as someone who suffers from EDS, these symptoms need to be prevail over a prolonged duration, for usually more than a month.


Causes of EDS

It cannot be said for certain what causes excessive daytime sleepiness, but listed below are a few of the possibilities.


  • EDS is one of the symptoms sleep disorders like sleep apnea, narcolepsy or hypersomnia.

  • Smoking and being overweight or even hypothyroidism has been related to EDS.

  • Certain drugs including those that come under tranquilizers, sleeping pills, antihistamines may feature EDS as a side effect.

  • Unusual working hours such as night shifts that disturb normal sleeping patterns.
  • Genetic predisposition

  • Depression

Excessive daytime sleepiness has no sure fire cure though certain drugs, implementing good sleep hygiene and behavior therapy have known to help. Sleep clinics across the world continue to treat patients with this disorder and have been met with considerable success. EDS is also known to cure itself as time passes by and the person suffering from it gets older.


If you do suffer from Excessive Daytime Sleepiness, a check-up with the doctor is highly recommended. While this disorder does not pose any threat to one's health, it does lead to a greater chance of accidents (especially road or work related accidents) as the sufferer's judgement and mental awareness are severely impaired.


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