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Drowsiness

Sleepiness - during the day; Hypersomnia; Somnolence

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

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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. But these conditions more often cause fatigue and apathy.

Causes

Drowsiness may be due to the following:

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.

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:

Tests that may be done include:

Treatment depends on the cause of your drowsiness.

Related Information

Fatigue
Depression - overview
Stress and your health

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.

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Review Date: 8/14/2017  

Reviewed By: Fred K. Berger, MD, addiction and forensic psychiatrist, Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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