Why do I fall asleep at any time of the day?

This question was asked in Euless, Texas on 01/10/2013.
I can fall asleep at essentially any time of day or night regardless if I slept 9 hours. However, I always seem to fall asleep an hour later even after sleeping. Why is this?

Doctors Answers (6)

Jana P. Kaimal, MD, FCCP
Answered on: 1/25/2013

Falling asleep easily at anytime of the day or EXCESSIVE DAYTIME SLEEPINESS is often a sign of a sleep disorder such as Narcolepsy or Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It can also be associated with insufficient sleep or medications whose side effects may include drowsiness. It is alarming that you indicate sleeping as long as 8 or 9 hours, however feel drowsy, and tired enough to sleep within just one or two hours. This degree of daytime sleepiness is cause for concern as it has significant implications for your health and well being. You are most definitely at a higher risk of drowsy driving, safety issues at work, depression, weight gain, and overall poor quality of life. More serious complications such as a higher risk for high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, diabetes, and stroke are also possible. There are a number of details that are important in determining the cause of your excessive daytime sleepiness such as the presence of snoring, episodes of gasping for breath at night, witnessed episodes of quitting breathing, restless sleep, tossing and turning, sleep paralysis (knowing you are awake but you cannot move or speak-generally occurs as you are falling asleep or waking up), among many others. A detailed sleep history and possible overnight sleep study would carefully evaluate all aspects of your sleepiness. I would further encourage you to answer the questions on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. If your total score is 8 or more, I would recommend discussing your sleepiness with your primary care physician or a board certified sleep specialist. Remember that it is not "normal" to be this fatigued and sleepy during the daytime, and you should not just accept this as your "normal" level of alertness.

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 1/23/2013

You have "Idiopathic Hypersomnia" which simply means you are sleepy and we don't know why. The next step is to rule out a cause for the sleepiness. This could include sleep apnea, periodic limb movements asleep and narcolepsy. These conditions can be treated to help reduce the daytime sleepiness. If no cause can be found then the diagnosis reverts to "Idiopathic Hypersomnia" which is usually treated with a medication to stimulate wakefulness. This is for quality of life and for your safety and the safety of others.

Jeannine Louise Gingras, MD
Answered on: 1/14/2013

There are a number of causes of dayte sleepiness. I would recommend you find a board certified sleep doctor in your area and make an appointment.

SomnoDiagnostics, Inc.
Answered on: 1/11/2013

The description of your problem sounds like Excessive Daytime Sleepiness. Excessive Daytime Sleepiness occurs when for whatever reason, your sleep is un-refreshing leaving you tired the following day. A sleep disorder that disrupts your sleep such as sleep apnea or restless legs leaves you sleepy and tired after sleeping all night. When you have refreshing and undisturbed sleep, you typically would not have these complaints. Should you like to discuss this with Dr. Gibson, I will be happy to schedule an appointment with him. He is a Board Certified Sleep Specialist and you would discuss your health in general and sleep habits and concerns with him. If you would like, I am also available at 501.321.0547 to answer any questions that you would like to speak to me about.

Robert C. Jones, M.D.
Answered on: 1/11/2013

You are likely able to fall asleep because you are excessively sleepy. This excessive daytime sleepiness may be related to one or more sleep disorders. It would be a good idea to be evaluated by a sleep specialist to correlate your medical history and sleep habits with your symptoms to determine the cause of your sleepiness.

Courtney Whitney, DO
Answered on: 1/11/2013

Following a good night's sleep you should not be prone to dozing off during the day. Residual sleepiness could be a manifestation of an arousal disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea. If a sleep study revealed good sleep quality with a history of adequate quantity you could suffer from a disorder such as Narcolepsy or Idiopathic Hypersomnia.