Monday, April 5, 2010

Q & A: Why do I fall asleep during the day?

Can’t keep your eyes open during the day? This Q & A article from the Chicago Daily Herald may explain why.

The reader’s question was as follows:

I often fall asleep as soon as I sit down. It can happen anywhere and anytime. I don't realize I've fallen asleep. I fall asleep when I come home from work, at social functions, when family or friends are visiting, and at the dinner table. I've done this for 25 years but it's getting worse as I get older. Do you know what condition would cause this? Is treatment available?

In his answer, Dr. Howard LeWine describes sleep apnea as the most common cause of excessive daytime sleepiness.

He provides several telltale signs of sleep apnea:

• Loud snoring four or more times per week
• Someone telling you that you stop breathing or gasp for air during sleep
• Daytime drowsiness
• Morning headaches
• A large neck - 17 inches or more in men, 16 inches or more in women
• History of high blood pressure

More risk factors are included in this list. You can use this test to determine your risk for sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea can damage memory and concentration, cause heart problems, and raise your risk for driving accidents.

Speak with your doctor about scheduling a sleep test if you show signs of sleep apnea. A sleep specialist will use a sleep test to diagnose this disorder and decide the best treatment option for you.

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.