Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

Excessive sleepiness, tiredness and daytime fatigue are common problems.  While many medical conditions result in these complaints, a simple one is often overlooked, medications. Prescription medications and over the counter products can result in excessive sleepiness.  A new medication or a change in a dosage may produce the symptoms.  It might be related to something just taken or taken hours before the symptoms develop.

If you are sleepy, check your medication and consult your physician, or you may end up like this:

Just kidding.  Excessive daytime sleepiness is a serious issue that affects your personal life, your productivity at work, your ability to drive, and multiple other areas.

If you want to gauge how excessively tired you are, try filling out the Epworth sleepiness scale below.  This scale gives you 8 situations (i.e. sitting inactive in a public place, lying down to rest, driving, etc.) and you rate how likely you are to fall asleep using a scale from zero to three.  You can have a maximum score of 24, but anything over 10 is considered abnormal.  If you have a high score, strongly consider consulting a physician.  A physician will be able to help you determine the cause of your sleepiness and figure out the best way to treat it (if treatment is indicated).

Use the following scale to choose the most appropriate number for each situation:

0 = would never doze or sleep.
1 = slight chance of dozing or sleeping
2 = moderate chance of dozing or sleeping
3 = high chance of dozing or sleeping
Situation Chance of Dozing or Sleeping
Sitting and reading
Watching TV
Sitting inactive in a public place
Being a passenger in a motor vehicle for an hour or more
Lying down in the afternoon
Sitting and talking to someone
Sitting quietly after lunch (no alcohol)
Stopped for a few minutes in traffic
while driving
Total score (add the scores up)
(This is your Epworth score)

About Jessica

The Sleep Center is a physician-owned, diagnostic sleep facility in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona. I am Jessica, a registered nurse at the sleep center, exploring every avenue of sleep medicine and sharing my discoveries with you.
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