Coping With Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
Excessive daytime sleepiness is a condition that causes the sufferer to feel extremely tired during the day even after a good nights sleep. If you find yourself sleeping just fine through the night but waking up feeling very tired, then feeling the overwhelming need to take taps during the day you may be experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness.
This isn't just some long named condition for lazy people, excessive daytime sleepiness is a neurological sleep disorder. It can sometimes manifest itself with/as narcolepsy, a sleep disorder that can cause a person to fall asleep at random times without warning. But Excessive sleep disorder does not necessarily mean that the sufferer is also narcoleptic.
My Excessive Daytime Sleepiness Experience
I was diagnosed with excessive daytime sleepiness after a sleep study in 2007. My symptoms were pretty easily classified as a sleep disorder, but understanding the real cause required an over night stay and small sensors attached to my body and head. I was barely able to stay awake during work, I was forgetful and absentminded, and highly irritable.
I was certain that it was something to do with my sleep at night that was causing me to be so tired. The overnight sleep study showed that my nighttime sleep was actually pretty normal. I was then asked to do a MSLT test also known as Multiple Sleep Latency Test. This is a daytime nap study that monitors the amount of time it takes a person to fall asleep and also counts sleep-onset REM periods. The nap test was actually difficult. Because I was stuck in a room with dim light just watching TV, I had to fight to stay awake during each of the 3 hour breaks in between naps. I didn't even realize how difficult it was for me to stay awake until the study.
The test determines that a normal person falls asleep in about 10 minutes. Anything under 5 minutes is severe sleepiness. Over the course of 5 naps, I feel asleep in and avereage 3.2 minutes.
My Excessive Daytime Sleepiness Symptoms
Excessive daytime sleepiness for me caused a lot of problems at one of my prior jobs. Because I was so drowsy I had a hard time paying attention to detail. I would sit at my desk and just close my eyes fighting to stay awake. I was also finding myself becoming increasingly absentminded, forgetting to do the most obvious, easiest of tasks such as putting the correct date for a payroll.I was sleeping in one of the unused offices at every lunch break.
On the hardest days I would drink coffee, but also having severe acid reflux, drinking coffee is trouble for me. I had to make the choice.. If I want to stay awake was I willing to puke. Gross, but true.
My home life is difficult sometimes. I am so tired some days. I take naps while my 4 year old daughter stays awake playing KidZui on the computer. Because of my drowsiness I am short tempered when tired and am known to snap and becoming extremely irritable over small things. I forget things, often. I can have conversations with people, even feeling like I am fully awake, and they just leave me. I can't remember at all. For example my mom showed a pair of shoes to me in early December that she bought for my daughter I told her I thought they were great and loved them. When Christmas came and she said she had the shoes for me to wrap, I had lost all memory that she had bought them for her. It wasn't until I saw them that I remembered.
I've never fallen asleep without warning. I know when I need to go lay down and usually I can fight it enough if I am somewhere like work, a meeting, etc. When I drive, the sun shining towards me and heat seems to make me very tired. I have never had to pull to the side of the road, I have never fallen asleep while driving, but I have had to take a nap for awhile once I made it to my destination.
How I Handle EDS
I tried to take medication for EDS. I was on Provigil for about 3 weeks but it caused me to feel sick by about 4pm each evening. I was so ill that I had to go to bed and my boyfriend at the time would then have to take care of my daughter for the rest of the night.
I find that sleeping pills at night actually make the daytime sleepiness worse so I avoid them. I pretty much just take a nap when I'm tired and that is how I deal.
Excessive daytime sleepiness comes and goes for me. I can go months at a time where I am fully awake during the day, and then the next few months I may not be able to make it through the day without at least 1 hour nap during the day.
Your Experience With EDS?
Wanna share your story with EDS. Please feel free to share in the comments.
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