The treatment options for excessive sleepiness vary greatly, depending on the cause.
Obstructive sleep apnea
One of the most common treatments is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This therapy employs a small bedside machine that pumps air through a flexible hose to a mask worn over your nose and mouth.
Newer versions of CPAP machines have smaller, more comfortable masks. Some people complain that CPAP is too loud or uncomfortable, but it remains the most effective OSA treatment available. It’s typically the first treatment a doctor will suggest for OSA.
Restless legs syndrome
RLS can sometimes be controlled with lifestyle changes. A leg massage or a warm bath before bedtime may help. Exercising early in the day may help with RLS and with your ability to fall asleep.
Your doctor may recommend iron supplements if it appears your iron levels are low. Your doctor may also prescribe medications to control RLS symptoms. If so, be sure to discuss any potential side effects with your doctor or pharmacist.
Narcolepsy symptoms may be treated with some lifestyle adjustments. Brief, scheduled naps may help. Sticking to a regular sleep-wake schedule every night and morning is also recommended. Other tips include:
- getting daily exercise
- avoiding caffeine or alcohol before bedtime
- quitting smoking
- relaxing before bed
All of these things can help you fall asleep and stay asleep better at night. This may help cut down on sleepiness during the day.
Treating depression can be done with a combination of therapy, medications, and lifestyle changes. Antidepressant drugs aren’t always necessary. If your doctor recommends them, they may be needed temporarily.
You may be able to ease depression through talk therapy and making certain lifestyle changes, such as exercising more, limiting alcohol, eating a nutritious diet, and managing stress.
Age-related sleep problems
The lifestyle changes that can help treat narcolepsy and insomnia can also help people experiencing age-related sleep problems. If lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough, talk with your doctor. They can prescribe sleep medications that can improve your quality of sleep.
Since the cause of idiopathic hypersomnia isn’t known, treatment is focused on alleviating symptoms and may include stimulants, diet changes, or lifestyle changes.
The bottom line
Getting enough sleep is crucial to good health. If you can identify the cause of your excessive sleepiness and get treatment, you should find yourself feeling more energetic and with a better ability to concentrate during the day.
If your doctor doesn’t ask about your sleep routine, volunteer your symptoms of daytime sleepiness and discuss ways to overcome them. Don’t live with feeling tired every day when you might have a condition that’s easily and safely treated.