Research Suggests There May be a Link Between Daytime Sleepiness and Attention

A study has found that daytime sleepiness and attention may be correlated in people with narcolepsy and hypersomnia, with patients who self-report feeling more sleepy also being more likely to score highly for attention problems. For more information, you can read the source article at Sleep Review by clicking here.

About Narcolepsy

Patients with both narcolepsy type 1 and narcolepsy type 2 took part in the study. Narcolepsy is a long-term brain disorder that makes it difficult to regulate sleeping and waking patterns. As a result, people with the condition may feel very sleeping during the day, fall asleep at inappropriate times, and wake frequently during the night. Types 1 and 2 are different forms of narcolepsy, also called ‘narcolepsy with cataplexy’ and ‘narcolepsy without cataplexy’. Cataplexy is sudden muscle weakness triggered by emotions.

About Idiopathic Hypersomnia

The other condition included in the study was idiopathic hypersomnia, which is a sleep disorder that causes excessive sleepiness during the day. It may also make it difficult for someone to be woken up. Although similar to narcolepsy, people with idiopathic hypersomnia generally don’t suddenly fall asleep or experience cataplexy.

The Research

The study, titled ‘ADHD Symptoms Reported in Adults with Narcolepsy and Idiopathic Hypersomnia’, aimed to investigate the link between hypersomnia and attention. The 833 people who took part were assessed using a self-report measure of ADHD (the Adult ADHD self-report scale v1.1, or ASRS) and the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS).

The Results

The study found a correlation between attention and sleepiness. Of those that took part, a reported 60% were judged to be likely to have ADHD based on their ASRS results, but only 13% said they had a diagnosis of ADHD. These results suggest that it may be important for doctors to assess patients with these conditions for attention, as well as sleepiness, for the best patient outcomes. However, more research is needed to replicate these findings before a firm link between attention and sleepiness can be established. Scientists have suggested that the next step may be to carry out brain imaging studies to find out more about the neural circuitry activity.


Anna Hewitt

Anna Hewitt

Anna is from England and recently finished her undergraduate degree. She has an interest in medicine and enjoys writing. In her spare time she likes to cook, hike, and hang out with cats.

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