Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

Sleep Disorders

Sleepy and tired all day, every day.

03/13/2008

Question:

I am a working professional and mother. I try my hardest to keep up with all my responsibilities and manage to drag myself through the day but I feel sleepy and tired all day long.

I fall asleep very easily during the night and frequently have to take naps during the day.

When I take naps I have to put my alarm on in order not to sleep for hours, and when the alarm rings I snooze it at least 4 or 5 times before I drag myself to get up.

Because of my work and responsibilities I get about 6 hours of sleep every night but I could sleep for over 10 hours, so I have to put my alarm on even if it is the weekend.

During the night I have a very deep sleep. The other night my husband heard a loud sound on our wall and got up and out of the house (we have an alarm that beeps when the door opens) to discover that our sprinkler had broken and the water was hitting our bedroom door strongly.... I did not wake up at all and this concerns me. He just told me the story of what had happened, the next morning.

Very often I complain that I have no energy in me and don`t want to go out... I just want to sleep.

I get up with an energy drink, finish lunch with coffee and have to have an extra energy drink if I want to exercise or go out to do something fun.

When I was little I used to sleep walk but his went away by itself. I belive this happened for a period of about 10 years until one time I woke up taking a shower.

I am soooo sleepy all the time that when I go out to see a client and if I am early to any appointment I can just rest my head in the car seat and fall asleep immediately. Here again my cell phone alarm comes in handy.

I want to have more energy in me! Do I have a sleep disorder? If so, what can this be?

Thanks for your help.

Answer:

It seems that you are quite troubled about sleeping too soundly at night. By itself, sleeping deeply is not usually a problem, but you do want to be able to wake up when need be, and I understand your concern. The depth of your night sleep and your difficulty in staying awake during the day are probably manifestations of the same problem. This problem can be caused by any (or a combination) of the following:

You mention that you are a professional and a mother and that will keep you busy. You also mention that you get 6 hours of sleep during the night. For most individuals, this is not enough. I can guess that your symptoms may well be caused by a lack of adequate sleep and chronic sleep deprivation (the first item on the list above).

Sleeping for extended hours during off days can make you feel somewhat better, but will not bring your alertness level to normal unless you keep up a good 8 hours of sleep for several nights in a row (say a week at least). This may not be an option for many people in our current society with demanding social and work responsibilities. But remember that you may work better during fewer hours and enjoy life better when not struggling to keep from falling asleep during the day. So, it may be worth turning the computer, the TV, and the lights off earlier in the evening, when it gets naturally dark, and exchanging a novel for a dream.

If you do manage to extend your sleep, and the sleepiness persists, then any of the other items on the above list may be playing a role. A consultation with s sleep specialist would be the right thing to do.

I hope this was helpful.

For additional information regarding sleep and sleep disorders, visit the American Academy of Sleep Medicine website. This website also contains a list of Sleep Centers across the country so you can locate one near you if need it. Good luck and stay well.

For more information:

Go to the Sleep Disorders health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Ziad  Shaman, MD Ziad Shaman, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University