Drowsiness refers to feeling abnormally sleepy during the day. People who are drowsy may fall asleep in inappropriate situations or at inappropriate times.
Excessive daytime sleepiness (without a known cause) may be a sign of a sleep disorder.
Drowsiness may be due to the following:
You can relieve drowsiness by treating the cause of the problem. First, determine whether your drowsiness is due to depression, anxiety, boredom, or stress. If you are not sure, talk with your health care provider.
For drowsiness due to medicines, talk to your health care provider about switching or stopping your medicines. Never stop taking or change your medicine without first talking to your health care provider.
The doctor will examine you to determine the cause of your drowsiness and ask about your sleep patterns and health. Questions may include:
Tests that may be done include:
Treatment depends on the cause of your drowsiness.
Sleepiness - during the day; Hypersomnia; Somnolence
Griggs RC, Jozefowicz RF, Aminoff MJ. Approach to the patient with neurologic disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman’s Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 403.
Mahowald MW. Disorders of sleep. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman’s Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 412.
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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