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Sleeping Enough But Still Sleepy Throughout The Day?

My dad is 44 years old and has cholesterol problems. He sleeps his full eight hours of sleep everyday and yet he still feels sleepy. He is not tired but its his eyes that keep bothering him. As if he did not get enough sleep. He also cannot see well at nights. He has headaches everyday now. Mainly when he is stressed, does not eat, or in this case feels sleepy. So my question is what exactly is the cause? Is it his eyes? his age? or stress?

Kevin: Hey there, While I can't say anything about any specific causes with such limited information, I can point to a couple of general informational points with regards to why people can feel sleepy even when obtaining what they think is enough sleep.

There are two primary reasons this often happens. Sometimes there is a sleep disorder involved that compromises the quality of sleep while making the sleeper feel like he or she is still obtaining enough sleep. An example of a disorder that can do this is sleep apnea, where the sleeper, often with heavy snores, has trouble breathing during the night, sometimes waking up unknowingly for a second to take a breath.

The other very common reason someone can still be tired despite sleeping for 8-plus hours is that despite getting adequate sleep now, they still have a sleep debt that accumulated in the past. Despite sleeping as much as we need to, if we had previously built up a sleep debt and had yet to obtain the extra sleep required to pay it back, we would still be very susceptible to feeling sleepy because of it. You can learn more about sleep debt and this idea here.

I can't say whether either of these two things could be affecting your father, but I just wanted to make you aware of them in case either of them are playing a role. A doctor would be better able to examine your father closely, get more information, and give you more specifics. But I hope this new found general knowledge is helpful in some way. It's really sweet of you to write in out of concern for him, and I wish you and your dad the best of luck!


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Welcome! This site is continuously being created by students of Dr. William C. Dement's Sleep And Dreams course at Stanford University.

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