Excessive daytime sleepiness can make it difficult to get through the day. Lifestyle changes and sleep hygiene practices can help improve your sleep quality and reduce daytime fatigue.

Excessive daytime sleepiness is also known as hypersomnia. Managing the symptoms can be challenging.

Hypersomnia is characterized by feeling very sleepy during the day, falling asleep repeatedly during the day, or taking naps throughout the day. If it interferes with your life or you fall asleep without meaning to during the day, you may want to speak with a doctor about possible treatments.

Whether you have a medical condition or are just experiencing a temporary issue causing sleepiness, there are some steps you can take that may help you manage excessive daytime sleepiness.

For some people, alcohol can have a sedative effect. This can help them fall asleep.

However, as you sleep, your body digests and metabolizes the alcohol, leading to sleep disturbances. Various studies have shown that consumption of alcohol, particularly hard liquor, is associated with poor sleep quality.

Caffeinated beverages can also affect sleep, and may not have the beneficial effects that you might think. In a 2018 study, researchers explored caffeine’s role as a performance booster. They found that caffeine’s benefit may actually be a reversal of withdrawal symptoms associated with not drinking it.

They believe that longer, restorative sleep may be better for alertness, but caffeinated beverages are often faster and more convenient.

If you’re finding yourself excessively tired during the day, you may find that cutting back on caffeine and trying to increase your sleep at night is beneficial.

If you find you have trouble staying awake during the day, you should consider your working habits. Working late into the night can disrupt your sleep.

Disrupted sleep can lead to feeling excessively sleepy during the day.

If you find you need to work into the night to keep up, you may want to look for ways to reduce your workload or increase efficiency.

If you take prescription or over-the-counter medications, it is important to know how they can affect you. Several different medications can cause sleepiness as a side effect.

Some common medications that can cause sleepiness include, but are not limited to, antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-anxiety drugs, and diabetes drugs.

If you need to take medications for a health condition, you may want to discuss other options with a doctor. A different medication may not affect you as much or cause the same side effects.

Listening to upbeat music during the day or when feeling sleepy may help energize you a bit. This may help keep you alert and active during the day when you start to slow down.

When you are ready to sleep at night, evidence suggests that listening to soothing music may help you sleep better.

Exercise can have a few positive benefits for sleep.

During the day, getting up and moving a bit can help wake yourself up. Standing up from your desk for a few minutes, taking a short walk, or moving around a bit may help you focus and feel more awake.

Regular aerobic exercise can also help with insomnia and other sleep disturbances.

In a 2023 review of studies, researchers found evidence that suggests regular exercise can help with insomnia and other sleep disorders, and it can also help anyone improve sleep quality, reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and improve overall sleep quality.

Sleep hygiene plays an important role in getting quality sleep.

There are several aspects to sleep hygiene, including:

  • going to sleep at the same time each night
  • creating a relaxing environment in the bedroom, including removing electronics, blocking out lights and noise, and sleeping in a cool environment
  • getting up around the same time each day
  • engaging in regular physical activity
  • avoiding large meals before bedtime
  • not drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages before bed
  • getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night as an adult and more as a teen or child

If you find sleepiness or falling asleep interferes with your daily life, you may want to discuss your concerns with a doctor or other healthcare professionals. They can help check any underlying causes of sleep disorders or other issues that may be causing the daytime sleepiness.

If they find an issue, they may be able to recommend additional treatment options and lifestyle changes.

Excessive daytime sleepiness can make getting through the day difficult.

Taking steps to improve your sleep hygiene, exercising regularly, and making other lifestyle changes may help. But if your daytime sleepiness still lingers after these attempts, you may find it helpful to speak with a doctor.