ZocdocAnswersWhat causes excessive sleep?

Question

What causes excessive sleep?

I'm a healthy guy in my early 30s, workaholic / exercise freak type. Usually I need only 6 to 7 hours of sleep, but for the last few weeks, I've been sleeping almost twice that. I get sleepy earlier and sleep later. This has never happened before. Am I sick?

Answer

Any time you have a change in your sleep patterns that is not intensional, you should seek medical attention from a qualified health care professional. In this case, it is probably best for you to see a primary care physician such as an internal medicine physician or family doctor. It seems that this change in your sleep pattern is very dramatic. Needing to sleep between 12 and 14 hours a day is not normal and needs to be looked into. There are many reasons this could happen. A very common syndrome in the United States is sleep apnea. This is when people stop breathing at night resulting in frequent awakenings that are not noticed. It results in very poor sleep quality and severe daytime sleepiness. Extreme tiredness can also rarely result from an infection or cancer from the body wide inflammation that these diseases create. These are sources of your symptoms that would be considered after the more common ones are ruled out. I suggest you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician soon. He or she can take a more detailed history of your energy level and sleep pattern and perform a thorough physical exam. Your doctor may decide to order some blood tests or a sleep study. Good luck.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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