What is the definition of Drowsiness?

Drowsiness refers to feeling abnormally sleepy during the day. People who are drowsy may fall asleep in inappropriate situations or at inappropriate times.

What are the alternative names for Drowsiness?

Sleepiness - during the day; Hypersomnia; Somnolence

CONSIDERATIONS

Excessive daytime sleepiness (without a known cause) may be a sign of a sleep disorder.

Depression, anxiety, stress, and boredom can all contribute to excessive sleepiness. However, these conditions more often cause fatigue and apathy.

What are the causes for Drowsiness?

Drowsiness may be due to the following:

  • Long-term (chronic) pain
  • Diabetes
  • Having to work long hours or different shifts (nights, weekends)
  • Long-term insomnia and other problems falling or staying asleep
  • Changes in blood sodium levels (hyponatremia or hypernatremia)
  • Medicines (tranquilizers, sleeping pills, antihistamines, certain painkillers, some psychiatric drugs)
  • Not sleeping long enough
  • Sleep disorders (such as sleep apnea and narcolepsy)
  • Too much calcium in your blood (hypercalcemia)
  • Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)

HOME CARE

You can relieve drowsiness by treating the cause of the problem. First, determine whether your drowsiness is due to depression, anxiety, boredom, or stress. If you are not sure, talk with your health care provider.

For drowsiness due to medicines, talk to your provider about switching or stopping your medicines. But, DO NOT stop taking or change your medicine without first talking to your provider.

Do not drive when drowsy.

WHAT TO EXPECT AT YOUR OFFICE VISIT

Your provider will examine you to determine the cause of your drowsiness. You will be asked about your sleep patterns and health. Questions may include:

  • How well do you sleep?
  • How much do you sleep?
  • Do you snore?
  • Do you fall asleep during the day when you do not plan to nap (such as when watching TV or reading)? If so, do you awake feeling refreshed? How often does this happen?
  • Are you depressed, anxious, stressed, or bored?
  • What medicines do you take?
  • What have you done to try to relieve the drowsiness? How well did it work?
  • What other symptoms do you have?

Tests that may be done include:

  • Blood tests (such as a CBC and blood differential, blood sugar level, electrolytes, and thyroid hormone levels)
  • CT scan of the head
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)
  • Sleep studies
  • Urine tests (such as a urinalysis)

Treatment depends on the cause of your drowsiness.

REFERENCES

Chokroverty S, Avidan AY. Sleep and its disorders. In: Daroff RB, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 102.

Hirshkowitz M, Sharafkhaneh A. Evaluating sleepiness. In: Kryger M, Roth T, Dement WC, eds. Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 169.

Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Phase: N/A
  • Intervention Type: Dietary Supplement
  • Participants: 30
  • Start Date: November 9, 2020
Assessing the Effect of the MYODM Food Supplement on Quality of Life, Fatigue and Hypersomnia in Patients With Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Active, not recruiting
  • Phase: Phase 2
  • Intervention Type: Drug
  • Participants: 80
  • Start Date: May 29, 2018
A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind, Crossover Study of Oral BTD-001 in Adults With Idiopathic Hypersomnia