Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
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Why Am I So Tired?

Friday, 29 Jun 2012 02:24 PM


Question: Sometimes at work I'm so sleepy that I have to excuse myself, go out to my car, and take a nap. I feel terrible, but I don't want to fall asleep at my desk. I feel like I'm sleeping OK, but I'm still tired all the time. Could I have chronic fatigue syndrome?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

The most common cause of daytime sleepiness is poor nocturnal (nighttime) sleep. While some metabolic disorders, such as diabetes and hypothyroidism, may be present with daytime fatigue, poor sleep hygiene is usually the cause of poor sleep.

Sleep apnea and periodic leg movements can also interrupt sleep. Your most valuable source of information about your sleep is your roommate or bed partner. Ask if you snore, pause in breathing, or have any unexpected arm, leg, or head movements. Medications — especially antidepressants, antihistamines (allergy), anti-epileptic (seizure), and anti-hypertensive (blood pressure) — also can cause fatigue and sleepiness as well as disrupt regular sleep routines.

Do not drive until cleared by your doctor and you clearly understand the cause of your fatigue.

There also is an uncommon condition called narcolepsy, where REM sleep (which stands for “rapid eye movement” sleep, or deep sleep) intrudes into consciousness during daytime activity, creating inappropriate daytime sleepiness. I recommend you seek the advice of your regular medical doctor to help you determine the cause of your sleepiness.












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