Are you Daytime Drowsy?

Your retirement years should be filled with travel, hobbies, and socialising. But what happens when daytime drowsiness gets in the way?

Are you having trouble staying awake during the day, even after getting a full night’s rest? What about having difficulty keeping your eyes open when someone is talking to you, or dozing off while watching television?

While it is normal for our sleep patterns to change as we age, constantly feeling tired during the day is not normal.


Finding the root cause of your daytime drowsiness is key to regaining your energy and life. Daily fatigue could be caused by:
  • Sleep disorders, such as
    • Restless legs syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by unpleasant sensations in the legs. These sensations are typically accompanied by an urge to move or stretch the legs, and they tend to be worse at night.
    • Sleep apnoea is a condition in which breathing stops or pauses during sleep. It’s caused by the muscles that keep your airway open and allow you to breathe normally becoming relaxed, so that when you breathe in, your throat collapses and blocks the air flow. Sleep apnoea can reduce the amount of oxygen your body receives, which can lead to serious health problems if left untreated.
    • Insomnia is a sleep disorder that causes a person to have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. It can be categorised as short-term (acute), or long-term (chronic).
  • Medications can make people feel extra tired, especially if they don’t work well with your body chemistry, or if they have side effects that make it hard for you to get a good night’s sleep.
  • Other medical conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, or related pain.
  • Stress and depression
While these can occur at any age, seniors often overlook symptoms as just a sign of ageing.

Health Ramifications

Not getting enough sleep can have more serious consequences for seniors than it would for a younger person. This can range from lack of nightly physical rejuvenation, to exacerbating medical conditions, and even lead to the development of cognitive impairment.

Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS)

The Epworth Sleepiness Scale is a widely-used measure of daytime sleepiness that can help evaluate your risk for accidents and other problems caused by drowsiness. The test asks eight questions to gauge your level of drowsiness during certain scenarios.

The questionnaire asks you to rate how likely you are to doze off in different situations – both while inactive, and while performing tasks that require concentration. Respondents give a rating for each situation, ranging from zero (no chance of dozing) to three (nearly every time).

The questionnaire has been designed to provide an objective measurement of the severity of your condition. You can use it to help diagnose sleep disorders or monitor the success of treatment for these conditions. It is included here for your reference, though it is best to discuss testing and results with your medical practitioner.

Australian Over 50s Living & Lifestyle Guide

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