Daytime sleepiness or tiredness? Although it is not a universal finding, excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) is a common finding, especially associated with poor sleep.
Excessive daytime sleepiness
Those with sleep disordered breathing (SDB), – snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), often appear to sleep deeply (better than their bed partner!) but their sleep patterns ( or sleep architecture) is affected and the result is therefore one of sleep deprivation.
There is oxygen starvation to the brain (which incidentally requires 20% of the oxygen we breathe in at night) when we have an airway obstruction – which is what happens in SDB.
Incidentally, there is also loss of brain volume in the frontal lobes with chronic OSA and resultant lowering of oxygen levels in the blood. This can be reversible – so don’t ignore it. Your doctor may look at other issues too, just ensure that a sleep test is considered as part of the work up.
My sleep is un-refreshing!
Feeling unrefreshed when you get up? Again, a lack of oxygenation, disrupted sleep architecture and bursts of fight or flight hormones during the night often leads to feeling the need to get “just another hour”(or more) in bed.
Remember those that fall asleep immediately their head hits the pillow may very well be sleep deprived. To take 10-15 minutes to drift off to sleep is considered the norm.
Use a sleep log (a note pad or just some paper) to keep track of your sleep. Unfortunately with our busy life styles and 24 hour society you may get a surprise!
While I realise that work is necessary to pay the bills, sit down and look at how you can achieve the 7-8 hours that your body likely needs. Most people don’t work effectively with sleep deprivation and its often, “how long can you do it before you get ill, or have an accident.”
Are you a danger to yourself or others?
Remember, sleep deprivation gives similar symptoms to alcohol use. What would happen if you kept going to work drunk ? You get my meaning.
Also be aware that just moderate levels of obstructive sleep apnea can increase your chances of a motor vehicle accident by 7-10 times. Love your car (and your safety)? Make sure that you’re getting enough quality sleep.
Ensure that sleep factors in your life, and remember you can’t get caught up at the weekends, nice though that would be. Also be aware that there’s sleep and then there’s quality sleep – you can sleep 8 hours and still feel dragged out – look for other clues, sweating, snoring, gasping, etc.