ZocdocAnswersWhat can I do about excessive sleepiness?

Question

What can I do about excessive sleepiness?

I am constantly tired. I work 5 days a week; normally from 3:30-11:30pm. I take about 4 to 5 naps a day if not more. I can feel a pressure like pain behind my eyes each time before I start feeling tired. If I don't take a nap as soon as I feel the pressure I will just randomly fall asleep. I've fallen asleep during sex, during class, in the car, at the dentist office, at work and several other places. I always try to find somewhere to sleep to avoid just falling asleep. Its almost like a blackout because I won't remember what I was doing prior. I also have bruxism and my doctor believes I have TMJ. I chew through 2-3 mouth guards a month. I have also been told that I snore.

Answer

I am sorry to hear that you have to suffer from being tired all of the time. People might not think about this as a medical problem outside of the medical community, but it can severely affect your health and your overall quality of life. It is definitely something that you should talk to your doctor about. From all of the different symptoms that you are describing, I would be concerned that you may have obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA. This is a rather common condition, and it can be life threatening over time. Additionally, it can increase the incidence of accidents at home and at work, and so it is something that should be treated. Even if you don't have obstructive sleep apnea, any sleepiness that is affecting your life so much should be addressed quickly with your doctor. Not doing so will leave you at increased risk of numerous possible medical and other problems. There are many things that can be done to help with your sleepiness, and your doctor will be able to make multiple recommendations and may feel that you need a sleep study. Please speak with your doctor about your concerns and seek treatment.

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