Excessive Daytime Sleepiness or commonly known as EDS, is a sleeping disorder which causes the sufferer to feel persistent urges throughout the day to sleep or take naps and often at very inconvenient times. Excessive Daytime Sleepiness is not the same as narcolepsy but they are similar in affect.
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness is a form of the sleeping disorder Hypersomnia. The sufferer of EDS, although having slept a full night’s sleep is prone to constant bouts of sleep and naps throughout the day and seemingly at random.
If you have ever known anyone with Excessive Daytime Sleepiness, you may have by chance mistaken it for general fatigue or even intoxication as it may appear as the compulsions to sleep become greater and greater.
Today with all of the work, responsibilities, bills and general daily stress in our lives it’s easy to imagine that one may be tired throughout the day and may take a nap because of it. Though, it’s important to differentiate between common fatigue and Excessive Daytime Sleepiness, which is considered to be a chronic disorder.
Everyone is tired here and there throughout the day and may exhibit behaviors that are closely related to Excessive Daytime Sleepiness, but if you know of anyone in your life who exhibits these behaviors at an almost incontrollable level and at random or inconvenient times then it’s possible they may be suffering from Excessive Daytime Sleepiness.
There are ways to distinguish the difference between everyday fatigue and sleepiness from Excessive Daytime Sleepiness. Though, these tests often require that you go visit a sleep specialist for a proper diagnosis as some of the characteristics of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness are also common to every day normal fatigue and you don’t want to confuse the two and get a misdiagnosis.
When visiting a sleep specialist there are several tests that they can use to determine accurately whether a person is suffering from Excessive Daytime Sleepiness or not. One of these tests is known as the “Epworth Sleepiness Scale”, which looks at the results of a questionnaire.
The results of this test determine whether further investigation into the patient should carry forth or if the person is just naturally tired from every day stress and living conditions. Another way of diagnosing Excessive Daytime Sleepiness is using a Multiple Sleep Latency test or what is known as a MSLT.
This is a test that has been in existences since the 1970s. This test measures the latency between the start of a daytime nap into the period where the person is actually sleeping. This is known as sleep latency. The philosophy behind this test is that if a person is suffering from Excessive Daytime Sleepiness they will fall asleep faster than someone who is not.
You may be asking yourself if Excessive Daytime Sleepiness is so closely related to narcolepsy but also shares characteristics of every day fatigue and sleepiness what might the causes be. There are a variety of reasons that a person may be suffering from Excessive Daytime Sleepiness.
They span greatly as they are often related directly to that person’s personal lifestyle and behavioral habits. A person may be suffering from clinical depression or atypical depression that may lead to the body being less stimulated throughout every day activities and make it more prone to sleep more because of the constant persistence to do so from the emotional state of the sufferer.
There may be physical related injuries such as anemia, tumors, kidney malfunctions, head trauma or possibly something damaging to the central nervous system, which is causing the person to feel chronically tired throughout the day.
If the sufferer is a constant user of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or any other vice these may also contribute to one experiencing Excessive Daytime Sleepiness. There are also reasons, which are tied directly to genetics and may be something that is carried on down the line within a family’s gene pool. Of course in this situation since one is dealing with genetics the treatments may be more complicated.
A person may also be suffering from Excessive Daytime Sleepiness due to a misalignment of the body’s circadian pacemaker with their surroundings, which will affect their overall relationship to their environment and affect how their body acts on a 24-hour basis. The shift of the circadian pacemaker may be caused by a variety of reasons such as jet lag, an irregular work shift at the sufferer’s job or other circadian disorders.
This means that the body is experiencing it’s cycle off kilter to what it should be in a 24 hour day thus preventing the body from adapting properly to it’s surroundings and environment. This situation would be on par with a flock of birds migrating north in the winter instead of south due to inherent physiological misalignment.
Coping and dealing with EDS is not easy. EDS can affect a sufferer’s every day life including work, family, social circles, responsibilities and other areas of life where being alert and fully cognizant is necessary.
Many people in the family of a sufferer of EDS may not accept the fact that EDS is in fact a legit disorder where treatment is needed. Those unaware of the symptoms to the disorder may see it as being rude and insulting.
It’s always important for the family of an EDS sufferer to try to understand the disorder as much as possible to alleviate any further stress put on the sufferer by the family or friends.
Prescription treatments are available for EDS including Provigil and Xyrem, which have been approved to help those suffering from the disorder. These treatments have proven to be quite effective for those suffering from EDS and still remain a strong line of defense today.
It is recommended for anyone who may experience common bouts of sleep throughout the day on an irregular basis to visit a sleep specialist. If you find out that you or someone in your family is suffering from this disorder having the knowledge of the disorder and it’s characteristics is the first step to fighting it and alleviating its affects in the long run.