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Learn about your daytime sleepiness, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your daytime sleepiness from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

Daytime Sleepiness Checker

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Your Daytime Sleepiness May Also be Known as:
Daytime fatigue
Daytime tiredness
Falling asleep during the day
Feel sleepy during the day
Sleepy during the day
Tired during the day

Daytime Sleepiness Symptoms

It is 2 o'clock AM; you're awake. Night after night, you are up, witness to the wee hours of the morning. Despite your best efforts, you just can't sleep. Insomnia strikes again.

Not sleeping at night would explain why you struggle to stay awake during the day. What if you are sleeping well through the night but still don't feel rested? Your daytime grogginess might be a symptom of an underlying disorder.

Daytime fatigue could be due to something as benign (and easily resolvable) as poor sleep hygiene. Daytime fatigue could be due to something as serious (and less easily resolvable) as a traumatic brain injury.

Depending on the cause of your daytime sleepiness symptoms, you may also experience:

Let's explore some of the more common conditions that can cause daytime sleepiness symptoms.

Daytime Sleepiness Causes Overview

Poor sleep hygiene:

  • Sleeping habits effect the quality of your sleep. Quality of sleep is essential to avoiding daytime sleepiness. When you have habits that interfere with your quality of sleep, you are practicing poor sleep hygiene.

Sleep deprivation:

  • Most adults require seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Inadequate sleep negatively impacts your executive function – the ability to process and respond to information. Inadequate sleep also increases your risk for diabetes, obesity, certain cancers and Alzheimer's.

Insomnia:

  • Insomnia is defined as difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, or waking up too early. This combination of inadequate sleep and poor sleep quality can cause chronic daytime sleepiness. Resolving insomnia is not always as simple as improving your sleeping habits.

Hormones:

  • Hormones may be to blame for daytime sluggishness. Whether due to hypothyroidism, premenstrual syndrome or premenstrual dysphoric disorder, hormonal fluctuations can interfere with both your quality and quantity of sleep.

Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia have similar symptoms, but they are different disorders. The exact cause of these disorders is not fully understood, but a level of fatigue which interferes with day-to-day activities characterizes both.

Sleep apnea

  • If you have obstructive sleep apnea, your airway becomes blocked as your tongue and other parts of your upper airway relax with sleep. When your airway becomes blocked, you stop breathing, if only for a couple of seconds. During these seconds, you wake up, even though you may not remember waking - interrupting your normal sleep cycle. When your sleep cycle is interrupted, you miss out on the refreshing benefits of sleep and may wake up feeling like you have not slept at all, then stay sleepy throughout the day.

Restless leg syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder:

  • Restless leg syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder sound similar but are different disorders. With restless leg syndrome, your legs are still, but the sensation you feel in your legs keeps you awake. If you have periodic limb movement disorder, the involuntary movement of your legs may repeatedly wake you from sleep. Restless leg syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder are similar in that they both result in poor sleep, leaving you feeling like you are dragging through your day.

Post traumatic brain injury syndrome:

  • Sleep cycles are altered after a traumatic brain injury. As the injury heals, sleep cycles start to reestablish themselves. As the quality of sleep improves, you experience increasing levels of alertness, and daytime sleepiness begins to resolve.

Top 10 Daytime Sleepiness Causes

  1. 1.Sleep Deprived

    Sleep is very important to health and adults should get a minimum of 7 hours each night. Sleep deprivation causes daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and headaches.

    You should try to sleep more.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating
    Symptoms that always occur with sleep deprived:
    hidden: sleep: duration: less than 7 hours, daytime sleepiness
    Symptoms that never occur with sleep deprived:
    nausea or vomiting, being severely ill, fever, unintentional weight loss
    Urgency:
    Wait and watch
  2. 2.Insomnia Disorder

    Insomnia is a very common sleep disorder that prevents one from falling asleep, staying asleep, or a combination of both.

    Sleep is of critical importance to physical and mental wellbeing. You should speak with your primary care physician about your inability to sleep well. Things you can do to improve your sleep are: regular exercise, keeping a regular bedtime and routine, avoiding caffeine several hours before going to bed and putting away your electronic devices before bedtime. In addition, try to do something relaxing like reading, listening to music or breathing exercises.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, mild headache, insomnia
    Symptoms that always occur with insomnia disorder:
    insomnia
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Premenstrual Syndrome

    Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a very common condition. PMS has a variety of symptoms including cramping, mood swings, food cravings, fatigue, irritability, breast tenderness & depression.

    You may recognize this diagnosis on your own due to the of the timing of your symptoms. Treatment can involve decreasing caffeine, salt and/or refined sugar, increasing exercise, and reducing stress. If symptoms become more severe, a doctor may prescribe an oral birth control pill or an anti-depressant.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    stomach bloating, anxiety, constipation, breast pain, depressed mood
    Symptoms that never occur with premenstrual syndrome:
    constant sadness, severe sadness
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  4. 4.Restless Legs Syndrome (Rls)

    Restless Legs Syndrome is a common condition characterized by an urge to move the legs in order to stop unpleasant sensations.

    You should see a doctor if these symptoms continue or begin to get worse

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    daytime sleepiness, trouble sleeping, dull or achy leg pain, difficulty falling asleep, restless legs
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    Sleep apnea is a disorder in which the upper airway is obstructed during sleep, which causes poor sleep quality and frequent awakening.

    You should visit your primary care physician within a few weeks to discuss your symptoms. The physician will likely order a sleep test to confirm the diagnosis.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, irritability, daytime sleepiness, trouble sleeping, sore throat
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Daytime Sleepiness Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having daytime sleepiness.

    Take a quiz
  6. 6.Recurrent Depression

    Depression, once diagnosed, can often recur with new episodes. Sometimes these episodes can be similar to ones in the past, sometimes the symptoms can be different. It's good to be aware off the fact that people who had a depression before, remain vulnerable.

    You should discuss your symptoms with your primary care physician or psychiatrist. Resumption of, or adjustment to current treatment is often needed.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea, stomach bloating, loss of appetite
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Post - Traumatic Brain Injury Syndrome

    After a concussion or traumatic brain injury, the brain needs time to recover. In many cases, people suffer symptoms like headache and fatigue for years after the initial injury.

    Since you previously had a head injury, it is prudent to speak with your primary care physician about these symptoms.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    headache, fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, daytime sleepiness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Fibromyalgia

    Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes widespread pain, tenderness, and fatigue.

    Fibromyalgia is treated symptomatically. Medication, therapy, and stress reduction may reduce symptoms.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, anxiety, trouble sleeping, depressed mood, headache
    Symptoms that always occur with fibromyalgia:
    hidden: arthralgias or myalgias
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  9. 9.Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

    Premenstrual dysmorphic disorder is a condition that occurs 5-11 days before menstruation that causes depression-like symptoms, where you have depression-like symptoms, irritability, and tension.

    You may recognize this diagnosis on your own due to the of the timing of your symptoms. Treatment can involve decreasing caffeine, salt and/or refined sugar, increasing exercise, and reducing stress. A doctor may also prescribe an oral birth control pill or an anti-depressant.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, stomach bloating, anxiety, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), depressed mood
    Symptoms that always occur with premenstrual dysphoric disorder:
    impaired social or occupational functioning, hidden: affective symptoms pmdd
    Symptoms that never occur with premenstrual dysphoric disorder:
    constant sadness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  10. 10.Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

    Periodic limb movement disorder is a sleep disease that causes random limb movements during sleep. There is no known cause.

    You should visit your primary care physician to discuss these symptoms.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, trouble sleeping, daytime sleepiness, restless legs
    Symptoms that always occur with periodic limb movement disorder:
    trouble sleeping
    Symptoms that never occur with periodic limb movement disorder:
    spontaneous loss of muscle control, sleep paralysis
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Daytime Sleepiness Treatments and Relief

Seek medical care if you have daytime sleepiness symptoms and:

Practice good sleep hygiene.

  • Go to bed at the same time every night. Get up at the same time every morning.
  • Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening.
  • Avoid alcohol late at night.
  • Avoid long-term use of sleeping pills.
  • Stop using screens (cell phone, laptop, tablet) two to three hours before going to bed.
  • Avoid afternoon and evening naps of more than 30 minutes.
  • Exercise regularly, preferably in the morning or afternoon.
  • Avoid eating in bed.

The benefits of sleep go above and beyond getting enough rest to feel more awake during the day, but poor sleep has long-term detrimental effects on your health and well-being.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Daytime Sleepiness

  • Q.Do you have trouble sleeping?
  • Q.Do you currently smoke?
  • Q.Are you feeling irritable (easily made upset)?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our daytime sleepiness symptom checker.

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Daytime Sleepiness Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced daytime sleepiness have also experienced:

    • 20% Fatigue
    • 6% Nausea
    • 5% Muscle Aches
  • People who have experienced daytime sleepiness were most often matched with:

    • 10% Insomnia Disorder
    • 8% Sleep Deprived
    • 3% Premenstrual Syndrome

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Daytime Sleepiness Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having daytime sleepiness.

Take a quiz