What is Hypersomnia?
Hypersomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by an abnormal amount of sleep at night and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS).
Most individuals suffering from hypersomnia feel the need to nap during the day regardless of how much or how little they slept the night before. Daytime naps usually provide little or no relief.
Many sufferers find it very difficult to wake up from a long sleep and feel excessively groggy or even disoriented.
Causes of Hypersomnia
Hypersomnia is often classified as primary or secondary. Primary hypersomnia is a neurological disorder that simply occurs on its own with no known cause. This includes idiopathic hypersomnia, Kleine-Levin syndrome, and a form of narcolepsy.
Secondary hypersomnia can be due to certain medications, drug abuse or withdrawal, and a number of mood disorders. Clinical depression, PTSD, and even other sleep disorders are common causes.
Underlying medical condition such as epilepsy, hypothyroidism, Parkinson’s disease, obesity, brain injuries, MS, or diseases of the nervous system can contribute to hypersomnia.
Symptoms of Hypersomnia
The doctor will review a patient’s medical history and symptoms. A multiple sleep latency test may be done to test the types of sleep experienced by the patient.
A polysomnogram may be required to monitor and records brain waves, oxygen levels in the blood, as well as heart rate, breathing, and eye and leg movements.
An Epworth sleepiness scale may be used to rate a patient’s level of sleepiness and the severity of the condition.
Sometimes a sleep diary or journal is requested where sleep and awake times are documented to help track sleep patterns.
Treatment of Hypersomnia
Because hypersomnia has many possible causes, its treatment will vary. Lifestyle changes, behavioral therapy, medication, or a combination of the above may be indicated.
Seeking treatment is essential because the consistent lack of good quality sleep can result in serious health consequences such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Car and work accidents are always a common concern. Job and personal relationships can be seriously impacted as well.