Usually, sleep begins to fall closer to the night, after a busy day at work or a hearty meal. But medicine also knows the abnormal state of drowsiness, when you want to sleep all the time for no apparent reason. This is called “hypersomnia”. It makes a person feel tired and want to sleep all day, even during important activities that require concentration and attention. Sleep at the same time becomes longer and can last more than 9–10 hours a day, which is considered unhealthy. What causes hypersomnia?
lack of rest
The primary and most common cause of drowsiness is a lack or lack of normal healthy sleep. The human body needs a good rest every day, for which night time is provided. 7–8 hours spent in a cozy bed is a sufficient period to gain strength and energy for the whole next day. Healthy sleep must meet two important criteria: quantity (duration) and quality (depth). If a person does not sleep enough and wakes up repeatedly during the night, suffers from nightmares, then in the morning he is unlikely to feel rested. On the contrary, the state of drowsiness will haunt him all day.
Criteria for the duration and depth of sleep can be acute or chronic. Acute disturbances usually last for one or two days, a maximum of a week. They most often happen due to external circumstances: rush at work, a difficult life period, exams, etc. As soon as the problems are resolved, sleep becomes normal again. Chronic sleep disturbance persists for a long time and does not go away without the necessary treatment. In this case, it is extremely important to consult a doctor in a timely manner and establish the cause of the ailment.
Scientists are still arguing about the amount of time a person needs to sleep. Most of them agree that the duration of a night’s rest may depend on the individual characteristics of a person (age, physical and psychological state), and lack of sleep negatively affects the cognitive functions of the brain.
Even if a person slept through the night, they may still feel sleepy during the day. Another reason for this is close to the previous one — this is bad intermittent sleep. If a person wakes up several times during the night and then cannot fall asleep for a long time, then such a rest can hardly be considered complete. Various factors disturb the peace: from external noise and the microclimate in the room (heat, cold, dry air) to the psychological and physical state of a person (illness, stress, anxiety). Sometimes a person may not remember that during the night he often woke up. And in the morning he does not understand why he continues to experience drowsiness.
Weakness and fatigue are common side effects of some medications, both prescription and over-the-counter. Recently, the popularity of various antidepressants has been growing all over the world. These medicines calm the nervous system, help to cope with mental illness, reduce stress levels and set the body for proper rest. After taking such medications regularly, you want to sleep more often.
The list of drowsiness provocateurs also includes drugs used in the fight against seizures (benzodiazepines such as diazepam and midazolam). Antihistamines (especially the first generation), which are commonly used to treat allergies, also have the unpleasant side effect of drowsiness. Strong painkillers, in particular, opioids, have similar properties.
When writing a prescription or buying medicines at a pharmacy, you should ask specialists in advance: does the drug cause drowsiness and addiction, what are its side effects? Those who take any medication for a long time and experience rapid fatigue during the day should consult a doctor to confirm or refute the effect of the drug on the state of drowsiness.
Breaking the habit
Just as taking medication can cause fatigue, stopping the use of certain drugs or foods can have a similar effect. This mainly applies to various kinds of stimulants and energy drinks. If a person has been taking coffee, energy drinks in large quantities for a long time, abused drugs or tobacco smoking, after giving up such habits, he may feel drowsy for some time. It is difficult for his body to immediately rebuild, and he will require the usual dose of stimulants. But over time, the body will get used to the new regime, and sleep will improve.
To the next and no less common factors of hypersomnia, doctors include traumatic brain injury. This is a very serious ailment, which is accompanied by a weakened consciousness and a lowered state of alertness, manifested as excessive daytime sleepiness. Such symptoms can be observed 6–18 months after the injury.
Symptoms of the disease
Chronic fatigue and lack of sleep can be associated with the development of various diseases, the diagnosis of which requires consultation with a doctor. Among the most common ailments that provoke drowsiness are obstructive sleep apnea and hypothyroidism (the inability of the thyroid gland to produce adequate hormones to maintain body functions). If a person has the characteristic symptoms of these diseases, then perhaps they cause increased drowsiness. And you need to contact the doctor as soon as possible to start treatment.
Psychiatric disorders can also cause constant fatigue. A common condition of depression in today’s world, especially major depressive disorder (MDD or MDD), includes symptoms associated with frequent fatigue, energy decline, loss of interest in usual activities, and a constant desire to sleep. Signs of this disease also include a depressed mood, a significant change in weight, an internal feeling of worthlessness or self-guilt, slowness of action, suicidal thoughts and poor concentration. Medications used to treat this type of disorder can also contribute to the feeling of sleepiness.
Another common mental illness that makes you constantly want to sleep is bipolar disorder. It can consist of alternating periods of elation and depression, or even manic episodes. As with MDD, depressive periods in bipolar disorder are often accompanied by drowsiness and increased sleep duration.
Circadian rhythm disorder
The circadian rhythm is the body’s biological clock that controls the sleep-wake cycle. Violations in this system can lead to sleep problems. Despite the various causes of jet lag, the more common ones are associated with changes in a person’s routine due to personal and social factors (such as shifts in work, study, an abundance of social responsibilities, poor lifestyle, jet lag).
The information provided is not intended for diagnosis or treatment and should not replace personal consultation with a qualified professional. If a person has increased drowsiness that causes concern, then it is advisable to consult a doctor and undergo an examination.