If you’re always feeling tired and sleepy, even when you’ve just woken up from hours of slumber, it might be time to get yourself checked for a sleeping disorder. While feeling fatigued is normal after you’ve had a long and grueling day, experiencing it at random times can mean another health issue altogether.

Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

Do you find yourself dozing off in the middle of the day or feeling sluggish all the time? At what point should you be concerned about chronic tiredness? Health experts say it could be the start or EDS, or excessive daytime sleepiness, which is the defining characteristic of most developing disorders.

At this point, it is important to note that fatigue is not the same as just feeling sleepy all the time. Fatigue can also mean feeling winded and worn, as well as a lack of motivation to perform and go through the rest of the day. This is not something that should be taken lightly, as the irrepressible need to sleep could lead to accidents.

According to a Gallup survey, 40 percent of Americans are deprived of quality sleep, with some 10 to 25 percent described as always excessively sleepy. People who have EDS are diagnosed to be so after a doctor conducts a series of tests and sleep studies. But generally, if it takes you less than 10 minutes to drift off into sleep at any time of the day, that can mean a sleep disorder in the making.

Causes of EDS

Excessive daytime sleepiness is often linked to serious sleep disorders: obstructive sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and narcolepsy.

OSA is the most common disorder that affects 20 million American adults. Apnea means that during sleep, the person stops breathing for 10 to 20 seconds at a time and this can happen over a hundred times in one night. This condition is caused by a blockage on the throat and upper respiratory airways. Often referred to as severe snoring, this results in poor sleep quality that causes the body to “wake up” many times at night, thus causing extreme tiredness during regular waking hours.

Restless leg syndrome is a neurological issue characterized by the involuntary and uncontrollable urge to move one’s legs or limbs. Often the feeling is linked to unexplained pain and crawling sensations on the legs, ranging from irritating to painful.

Narcolepsy is an autoimmune neurological disorder characterized by an inability to control waking and sleep cycles. Sleep attacks happen intermittently and can last from seconds to minutes. Its exact cause is unclear though scientists have found in certain studies that it is a product of low hypocretin levels, with patients having 95 percent less of it than those who do not have the disorder. 

Sleep disorder While feeling fatigued is normal after you’ve had a long and grueling day, experiencing it at random times can mean another health issue altogether. Pictured: A visitor takes a nap next to another using his phone at the Mobile World Congress Photo: Getty Images/Pau Barrena/AFP