What is Hypersomnia?(Excessive Sleepiness)

Hypersomnia or excessive sleepiness refers to a condition in which people sleep for a longer time (more than 10 hours) in the nights and problem in staying awake during the daytime. People with hypersomnia are compelled to take frequent long naps and can fall asleep at inappropriate times – during a conversation, or meal, at work or even while driving. They may also suffer from other sleep-related problems, lack of energy and trouble thinking clearly. This condition is more common in men than in women. According to National Sleep Foundation, nearly 40% of people suffer from the symptoms of hypersomnia from time to time.

Excessive Slepiness

Signs and Symptoms

  • Most people with hypersomnia sleep for more than 10 hours at night.
  • Excessive sleepiness even during the daytime.
  • Difficulty in waking from sleep.
  • Long frequent periods of sleep.
  • Sleep inertia/drunkenness.
  • Cognitive Dysfunction.

Idiopathic Hypersomnia

It is characterized by either long (more than 10 hrs) or normal sleep duration with excessive daytime sleepiness and complaints of non-refreshing sleep.

Recurrent Hypersomnia

Kleine-Levin syndrome is the most common form of recurrent hypersomnia. This rare disorder mostly affects adolescent boys and is characterized by bouts of hypersomnolence coupled with cognitive and mood disturbances, compulsive eating, hypersexuality and disinhibited behavior.

Causes of Hypersomnia

  • People with sleep/wake disorders – Narcolepsy, RLS and sleep apnea suffer from hypersomnia.
  • Sleep deprivation – Not getting enough sleep at nights.
  • People suffering from neurological disorders such as Multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Being Overweight.
  • Drugs and Alcohol Misuse.
  • Having a relative with hypersomnia (Genetics).
  • Prescription drugs such as tranquilizers, benzodiazepines.
  • People suffering from psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, OCD.

Diagnosis

Some tests are carried out by the sleep specialist to diagnose and assess your sleep and help identify any underlying cause

Two of the main tests are

  • Nocturnal Polysomnography
  • Multiple Sleep Latency Test

Treatment

  • Sodium oxybate
  • Modafinil/armodafinil
  • Stimulants
  • Atomoxetine
  • Clarithromycin

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