Dr. Dean

Why Am I So Sleepy During The Day?

Posting Date: 05/05/1999

Lisa: My problem is that I cannot stay awake in the daytime. But before you answer that, I want to address the toilet seat hoverers.

If you don't want to sit on a toilet, that's fine. But I don't want to sit in your urine. Hover if you must, but wipe the seat after yourself.

Sitting in someone else's urine is disgusting!

Dr. Dean: Agreed. No argument.

Lisa: Well, back to my problem, I cannot seem to stay awake, especially when I'm driving. As soon as I start driving, I get sleepy.

Could I have malnutrition?

Dr. Dean: That is usually not the cause.

Daytime fatigue is becoming a major concern, because of driving safety, among other reasons. Of course, some tiredness is normal and is not caused by a medical condition.

The simplest place to look for a medical cause is to test your thyroid and iron levels.

An often overlooked problem is apnea. Amazingly, people can be unaware that they are waking up many times each night because they stop breathing. Disordered breathing during sleep is turning out to be one of the most common causes of daytime sleepiness.

Snorers particularly should be worked up for apnea. Any chance that you snore?

Lisa: Yes!

Dr. Dean: Okay, Dr. Dean hit it on the nose again! I'll bet you dollars to donuts that you have apnea. Fix that, and you will feel much better.

Treatment is very important, because apnea has been linked to risks for scary illnesses later on, like heart disease, strokes, and diabetes.

Talk to a sleep specialist. You can be diagnosed at home, by wires that measure your breathing during sleep.