Excessive Sleepiness

This disorder’s name pretty much describes its symptoms. People with Excessive Sleepiness sleep during the day and cannot stay awake or alert long enough to do simple things. Because they are not functioning at 100%, the risk of car, work, or home accidents increases, and quality of school or work performance may decease. Excessive Sleepiness can also result in behavior and memory problems.

The most common cause of Excessive Sleepiness is chronic lack of sleep. Getting the right amount of sleep each night means you’ll be alert and awake the next day, able to perform your daily tasks.

How much sleep is enough? Use this chart as a guide:

  • Newborns (1-2 months) 10 – 18 hours
  • Infants (3-11 months) 9-12 hours nightly, up to four 30 minute -2 hour naps daily
  • Toddlers (1-3 years) 12-14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3-5 years) 11-13 hours
  • Elementary age (5-12 years) 10-11 hours
  • Teens 8.5 – 9.2.5 hours
  • Adults 7-9 hours
  • Older Adults 7-9 hours

Other causes of Excessive Sleepiness include:

  • Sleep Interruptions – by sleep apnea, periodic limb movements, pets, children
  • Body Clock Disturbances – such as Jet Lag or Shift Work
  • Medications/Sedatives – sleepiness is a side effect of sedatives and pain medications
  • Narcolepsy – chronic, lifelong disorder that results in excessive drowsiness and sleepiness, and sudden daytime sleep attacks
  • Circadian Sleep Disorders – Circadian Sleep Disorders affect your internal body clock and prevent you from sleeping or waking at typically “normal“ times

Degrees of Excessive Sleeping Disorder:
Mild – occurs usually while resting when little or no attention is needed during activity such as reading or watching TV.
Moderate – occurs during activities that need more attention mentally or physically; i.e., work meeting.
Severe – occurs during physical activities that demand full attention, i.e, driving, eating, talking.