Daytime sleepiness: Should you be worried?

Senior man sleeping in a chair outdoors

Are you sleepy during the day? Do you have trouble concentrating because you're drowsy? Take a short test to find out whether you should talk to your doctor.

The Epworth Sleepiness Scale can help you measure your sleepiness and understand your risk for obstructive sleep apnea. The test is quick and easy to complete. Simply rate how likely you are to doze in eight common situations. Remember that there are no right or wrong answers, so answer honestly and go with your first thought.

Start the Epworth Sleepiness Scale test , opens new window

This survey does not assess your risk for other sleep disorders. If you’re concerned about sleep issues, such as restless legs syndrome1 and narcolepsy,2 please talk to your primary care physician.

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is an unpleasant feeling or sensation felt in parts of the body when lying down to sleep. RLS usually affects the legs but can be present in the arms, torso or even a phantom limb (the part of a limb that has been amputated).

Those with RLS also have a very strong urge to move, and moving sometimes alleviates the sensation. However, this movement can make it difficult to sleep.

Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that causes attacks of drowsiness during the day, sometimes called excessive daytime sleepiness.

These attacks of drowsiness may occur at any time of day, several times a day and last for only a few seconds or several minutes. Nighttime sleep patterns may be affected by these attacks.

Other symptoms of narcolepsy are sudden extreme muscle weakness (cataplexy), a specific type of hallucination that occurs just before falling asleep or upon awakening and brief episodes of paralysis while waking up.

Sources:

  1. “Restless Legs Syndrome,” WebMD, last accessed July 2, 2018, http://www.webmd.com/brain/restless-legs-syndrome/restless-legs-syndrome-rls#1. , opens new window
  2. “Narcolepsy,” WebMD, last accessed July 2, 2018, http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/narcolepsy , opens new window

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