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    yodiewan's Avatar
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    Uncontrollably Sleepy

    Primal Fuel
    Hey guys. It used to be everyday, but has been better lately, but some days (like today) while sitting at my desk at work, I get very, very sleepy and cannot keep my eyes open. It often happens (ironically) after I take a short walk outside and occurs regardless of whether I ate lunch or not. It usually lasts for 15 minutes or more. I've had this issue for a while I guess. I've slept in class at school since high school at least, and once after an all-nighter I fell asleep while in a professor's office with two other group members, sitting not 5 feet from the professor, haha. Is this normal or should I be at all concerned? Thanks in advance

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    Asturian's Avatar
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    Search the forum for threads on "sleep apnea". Or just googole it and see if you can relate to the symptomatic information.
    “It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creeds into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.”
    —Robert A. Heinlein

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    i think this is sort of normal. energy levels can easily drop during the afternoon. i'm a big fan of seizing that opportunity and taking a quick nap. of course, that's not generally advisable at work. this could certainly be because you're not getting enough sleep at night (i had insomnia in college, and i once fell asleep in class while talking), so napping might help you. you might also try changing things up a bit. if you usually eat and take a walk, take the walk first. or you could try standing up at work for the afternoon, and see if that changes things.

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    Paleo Man's Avatar
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    One very common medical problem that can definitely cause your symptoms is obstructive sleep apnea. Most people who have it don't know it. Is is frequently undiagnosed or underdiagnosed by physicians.

    Basically, what happens if you have obstructive sleep apnea is this. When you fall asleep at night and begin to settle into a deep sleep, your airway relaxes and closes off. As you try to suck air through the closed off airway, it tends to just close off tighter. Those of us who are old enough to remember paper drinking straws have observed something like this - the straw would get soggy and soft on the end and the harder you would suck on it, the tighter it would close.

    So with no air coming through, you wake up briefly and use muscle control to open up the airway. But you don't know that you awakened, it is so brief. It is called a micro-arousal. In the morning, you believe that you slept most or all the night. But in truth, you may have had dozens or even hundreds of microarousals. And you never really get to fall into a deep relaxing REM sleep, because the micro-arousals keep pulling you out of it.

    Needless to say, this makes for fatigue during the day. And some who have suffered for a while tend to fall asleep at the least opportune times, at work, at school, maybe even at a long stop light in a car in extreme cases.

    It is extremely important to get checked out by a knowledgeable physician who is alert to the possibility of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) if you have these symptoms. The physician should either prescribe a sleep study where you go into a sleep center and are evaluated, or should send you home with a monitoring device, a recording pulse oximeter, for an overnight screening in your home. If one physician is not open to this, another or yet another needs to be consulted.

    Severe obstructive sleep apnea has a 40% eight year mortality rate according to a Mayo Clinic review. Very serious. And yet the sufferer's death certificate will almost never read "obstructive sleep apnea" but will read something like "cardiac arrest." OSA causes a number of types of cardiovascular problems, liver problems, heightens diabetes risk, makes it hard to lose weight and easy to gain, and causes fatigue, depression and sometimes headaches.

    It is very treatable through several different treatment options. But the first step is to get tested. Most people who snore significantly have some degree of OSA.
    Last edited by Paleo Man; 08-12-2010 at 01:01 PM.

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    Try a liquid fat bomb. A sweet potato might work, too, since you get nice and slow complex carb release.

    Download f.lux, and use exclusively red lightbulbs after sundown, so that electronics aren't interfering with your sleep.

    Also, make sure your sleep habits are as consistent and nourishing as possible. I can be pretty hazy for a few days after an inordinately late night.
    “The whole concept of a macronutrient, like that of a calorie, is determining our language game in such a way that the conversation is not making sense." - Dr. Kurt Harris

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    Thanks for all the suggestions guys (I'm guessing from avatars and screen names that you're all guys). I'm fairly sure I don't have sleep apnea as I don't snore (that I've been told of, haha) am not overweight, and am fairly young (24). I currently use f.lux, but don't have red lights to use at night, although I might try that.

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    free3337's Avatar
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    I think sleepiness around midday is normal. 'Uncontrollably' is a little concerning, but i don't know what to recommend other than checking that you are consuming adequate calories. Maybe just take in more calories and see if it matters. Maybe some stimulant like tea?

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    Lots of folks with narcolepsy can go through much of their life not realizing they have it. Sleep apnea would be unusual in high school, though not impossible. Have you ever experienced any of the following symptoms?

    1. cataplexy - sudden loss of muscle tone when getting excited or upset (i.e. - you fall down or feel kind of weak when you laugh or get angry)

    2. sleep paralysis - you wake up from sleep and can't move your limbs. Usually lasts a few seconds up to a minute or two

    3. sleep onset or awakening hallucinations - either when drifting off to sleep or when just waking up you see things in your room that aren't there (i.e. - you hallucinate).

    If yes to any of these, then narcolepsy is highest on the list of possibilities. If no, then chances are close to nil.

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    Asturian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yodiewan View Post
    Thanks for all the suggestions guys (I'm guessing from avatars and screen names that you're all guys). I'm fairly sure I don't have sleep apnea as I don't snore (that I've been told of, haha) am not overweight, and am fairly young (24). I currently use f.lux, but don't have red lights to use at night, although I might try that.
    While those characterisitcs often indicate sleep apnea, you don't have to snore or be overweight or be old to have sleep apnea or to have some less severe form of sleep disordered breathing issue. Often it is a morphological issue of the throat. People with small or receeded lower jaw or large tongue or enlarged tonsils or adenoids or large uvula or large upper soft palate or enlarged thyroid can each/all contribute to restricted airflow. Never hurts to just get breifly checked out by an ENT specialist. Or just go to your primary care doc and ask to get an oximeter rental for a week or two if the sleepiness does not go away.
    “It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creeds into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.”
    —Robert A. Heinlein

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    Paleo Man's Avatar
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    jturk and Asturian have great observations. OSA is so extremely prevalent and underdiagnosed that it always comes to mind when daytime sleepiness is an issue, but it is quite a bit less likely in a younger person who is not overweight and who apparently does not snore, though still always a differential worthy of some consideration if other possibilities are eliminated.

    Wikipedia has some good info on differentials and self assessments for excessive daytime sleepiness, EDS . . .

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excessi...ime_sleepiness

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