There are many different factors that can explain our difficulties sleeping. The sensation of being overly tired may be the symptom of an illness or just the logical consequence of not enough sleep.
We talk about excess sleep when a person sleeps outside the hours intended for rest, or a person who sleeps more than eight hours. Furthermore, sleepiness should not be confused with fatigue or apathy which are the results of lacking physical or mental occupation. On the other hand, depression or dealing with a period of high stress may motivate the feeling of constant tiredness.
Sleep-related diseases, also called sleep disorders, may cause drowsiness. These include hypersomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, insomnia or Kleine-Levin syndrome. Of these examples, the disorders related to extreme sleepiness are hypersomnia, narcolepsy and Kleine-Levin syndrome, also called “sleeping beauty syndrome”.
Hypersomnia is divided into different groups, but they all refer to the problem of sleeping too much during the day. This disorder does not prevent nighttime rest, and people with hypersomnia are able to rest without major problems throughout the night.
The dreams that people with hypersomnia experience tend to be monotonous situations in which the stimulation is relatively low. Examples of these types of dreams are work conferences or meetings, or going to the movies. This daytime napping isn’t restorative, so hypersomnia sufferers are frequently frustrated by their inability to feel rested.
Kleine-Levin syndrom is one type of recurrent hypersomnia. This syndrome is fairly uncommon and affects men more than women. The syndrome causes episodes of extreme sleep 1 to 10 times per year, and these episodes can last days or weeks. Those who suffer from Kleine-Levin syndrome can sleep from 16 to 18 hours.
Narcolepsy patients pass rapidly between the alert phase of sleep to the REM phase of sleep, so they suffer “sleep attacks” in unexpected situations. These “naps” although these naps are restorative, the need to sleep occurs again 2 or 3 hours later. This need to sleep is very dangerous, as narcolepsy patients may fall asleep while walking or driving.
Strategies to prevent or relieve symptoms
Once you recognize that you have an abnormal need to sleep, the first thing you should do is consult a specialist. You should also be familiar with good sleep habits, whether or not you suffer from a sleep disorder. Here are some guidelines that we can follow:
- Drink enough water. Bad hydration makes us feel more tired. If we really suffer from a sleeping disorder, we should not aggravate it with dehydration. Moreover, this habit helps the entire body function better.
- Get away from stress. Situations that generate stress affect our quality of rest. When we’re stressed out, we may have the sensation of having slept deeply for many hours. However, we actually only had a very light rest.
- Surround yourself with positive emotions. Negative emotions create fatigue and affect our body in many other ways. When we are low in spirits or upset we just want to sleep.
- Create healthy patterns. A good method to control our sleep is to maintain a strict routine. Go to bed at the same time, avoid long naps throughout the day, and sleep a healthy amount of time at night. In this way, our circadian rhythms will be in perfect health.
We believe that different circumstances in our environment can modify our sleep patterns. Our sleep issues may not always be an indicator of illness. Our resting habits change constantly depending on our age, our habits and our environment. That is why we should consult a specialist and apply the strategies cited in this article before we begin to feel apprehensive.