Excessive daytime sleepiness can occur for different reasons. For many people, feelings of tiredness can be attributed to not getting enough sleep at night, but several sleep disorders can also cause daytime sleepiness.
Sleep deficiency and daytime sleepiness may lead to negative outcomes at work or school. People who feel sleepy during the day and awake at night may struggle with focusing and concentrating at work, and tiredness can also impact decision-making and emotional control. Another concern is an increased risk of being involved in an accident on the road. Thankfully, there are measures you can take to mitigate daytime sleepiness and get enough sleep each night.
Daytime tiredness is different from fatigue. Fatigue refers to a lack of energy motivation that may occur due to lack of sleep, but can also stem from other factors like emotional stress or boredom.
Certain sleep disorders can lead to feelings of excessive daytime sleepiness. These include:
Another disorder, “insufficient sleep syndrome,” occurs when people persistently fail to get enough sleep at night due to factors such as family responsibilities or a work schedule that requires early rising. Tiredness during the day often occurs as a result. Interestingly, the most commonly diagnosed sleep disorder – insomnia – does not necessarily cause excessive daytime sleepiness. People with insomnia usually experience fatigue from being unable to sleep, rather than feelings of excessive tiredness that compel them to sleep.Apart from sleep disorders, other factors can cause excessive tiredness during the day. Jet lag, a circadian rhythm condition that affects overseas travelers adjusting to their current time zone, can make people very tired during the day. Sedative medications are also known to cause daytime tiredness. Additionally, one 2019 study suggests excessive sleepiness may be genetically inherited.
Adults generally need seven to eight hours of sleep each night. According to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 35% of respondents reported getting six or fewer hours of nightly sleep. Since a good night’s rest is essential for bodily recovery and repair, those who don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis are at higher risk for certain disorders, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and depression.
As you can see from our recommendations, the amount of sleep you should get each night will evolve over the course of your life.
|Age Group||Age Range||Recommended Amount of Sleep per Day|
|Newborn||0-3 months||14-17 hours|
|Infant||4-11 months||12-15 hours|
|Toddler||1-2 years||11-14 hours|
|Preschool||3-5 years||10-13 hours|
|School-age||6-13 years||9-11 hours|
|Teen||14-17 years||8-10 hours|
|Young Adult||18-25 years||7-9 hours|
|Adult||26-64 years||7-9 hours|
|Older Adult||65 years or older||7-8 hours|
If you feel tired during the day after a night without enough sleep, you may be able to alleviate your tiredness by simply getting more rest. Another remedy may be improving your sleep hygiene by going to bed and waking up at the same times each day, avoiding caffeine in the afternoon and evenings, and maintaining a relaxing bedroom environment.
However, persistent feelings of excessive daytime tiredness may warrant a doctor’s visit – especially if you sleep for the recommended amount of time each night.
The SleepFoundation.org editorial team is dedicated to providing content that meets the highest standards for accuracy and objectivity. Our editors and medical experts rigorously evaluate every article and guide to ensure the information is factual, up-to-date, and free of bias.
The SleepFoundation.org fact-checking guidelines are as follows: