Daytime sleepiness would be considered excessive if it starts interfering with your daily life and persists even if you try to get enough sleep at night. Here are the causes of excessive daytime sleepiness.
Excessive daytime sleepiness happens to be more common in older people. It can impair functioning and cognition in a noticeable manner, as well as predispose them to car accidents and the like. Regardless of what it could be, the causes of excessive daytime sleepiness need to be identified and sleep apnea has to be excluded from the bunch. Hypothyroidism is a common cause among older people and since sleep apnea isn’t, older people who suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness shouldn’t get sedative-hypnotics as part of their treatment.
Now, occasional sleepiness during the day is quite normal. A lot of older people get especially tired in the daytime, most of all if they suffer from disorders that might cause nocturnal symptoms. Daytime sleepiness is most common in people who temporarily get deprived of sleep at night. However, if sleepiness during the day persists and actually interferes with daytime functioning, it would be considered abnormal – remember that.
Other causes would include poor quality or chronically inadequate sleep at night, sedating drugs, and frequent problems with limb movement. The sedating drugs could include antihypertensives like clonidine, antihistamines, antipsychotics, sedating antidepressants, several analgesics, and anticonvulsants.
Excessive daytime sleepiness might bring about lethargy, impaired concentration and memory, and fatigue. These effects are usually more noticeable when it comes to older people, though, since they have less cognitive and physical reserve compared to younger people.
Either way, the patients all need to be evaluated to find out their causes of excessive daytime sleepiness before treatment. The patient’s partner in bed should also be asked to talk about the breathing patterns and snorting of the patient during sleep, which might suggest other sleeping disorders. An hour-long nap tends to help several patients, as well.