Hypersomnia: Everything You Need to Know About It


Hypersomnia is a sleep disorder that causes excessive sleepiness and prolonged periods of sleep. It can be caused by many different factors, including lifestyle choices, medical conditions, and medications. Symptoms can vary from person to person, but often include daytime fatigue, difficulty staying awake, and excessive sleeping. Hypersomnia can have a significant impact on quality of life, and can lead to problems at work or school, social isolation, and even depression. Treatment options vary depending on the underlying cause of hypersomnia, but may include lifestyle changes, medications, or therapy.

The National Sleep Foundation estimates that hypersomnia affects between 1% and 2% of the US population, making it extremely prevalent.

Hypersomnia vs. Other Sleep Disorders

Sleep Disorders

Hypersomnia is often confused with insomnia, narcolepsy, or another sleep disorder. Because hypersomnia can manifest differently in different people, hypersomnias may seem to have symptoms of other sleep disorders. hypersomnia is different from insomnia because hypersomnias are excessively sleepy during the day, even after adequate nighttime sleep. Hypersomnia may also be confused with narcolepsy , but unlike hypersomnias, narcoleptics experience overwhelming drowsiness and sudden “sleep attacks”.

Hypersomnia also differs from other sleep disorders because hypersomnias typically have an extended period of deep sleep, whereas sufferers of sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome tend to have a disrupted sleep cycle. Hypersomnia can be caused by many different factors, including medical conditions and lifestyle choices. hypersomnia may occur as a side effect of certain drugs or treatments, or hypersomnia may have an unknown cause. hypersomnia is not necessarily a sign of another underlying condition, but other health issues can contribute to hypersomnia symptoms.

Symptoms of Hypersomnia

Sleep Disorders

Symptoms of hypersomnia range from mild sleepiness during the day to prolonged periods of deep sleep. hypersomnias typically have trouble staying awake during the day, even after adequate nighttime sleep. hypersomnias may fall asleep involuntarily throughout the day, and report feeling fatigued even after naps or long periods of rest. hypersomnia can vary in severity from person to person; some hypersomnias never feel completely awake during the day, while others only experience mild fatigue after oversleeping.

Some hypersomnias report sleep drunkenness, an intense feeling of confusion and disorientation after waking. hypersomnia can also interfere with cognitive functions and memory; hypersomnias may have trouble concentrating, organizing thoughts, and forming memories. hypersomnia symptoms often cause hypersomnia to become socially isolated- hypersomnias are more likely to withdraw from social situations due to increased drowsiness and fatigue. hypersomnia can also cause hypersomnia to feel depressed or anxious, as hypersomnia affects mood and impairs cognitive abilities. hypersomnia may lead hypersomniacs to miss work or school, contribute to feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, and even increase the risk of suicide.

Treatments for Hypersomnia

There are a variety of treatments for hypersomnia, depending on the underlying cause. If hypersomnia is caused by medications or other medical conditions, treatment of those conditions may help to resolve the hypersomnia. If hypersomnia is due to sleep deprivation, treatment usually involves getting more sleep. Behavioral therapies such as stimulus control therapy and sleep hygiene education may also be helpful in treating hypersomnia. In some cases, medications such as stimulants or antidepressants may be prescribed to help increase wakefulness and reduce fatigue.

Hypersomnia is a disorder that can significantly impact quality of life, through disrupting daily routines and causing serious safety risks. If hypersomnia is caused by an underlying medical condition such as sleep apnea or depression, it may resolve when treatment for the underlying condition resolves the hypersomnia.

Before using any medications to treat hypersomnia, it’s important for hypersomnia sufferers to see a physician and determine the cause of hypersomnia. There are many medications that can cause hypersomnia, including antidepressants, antihistamines, and mood stabilizers. It’s important to avoid taking any medication known to cause hypersomnia unless it is prescribed specifically for hypersomnia treatment. The most effective treatments for hypersomnia are stimulus control therapy and sleep hygiene education.

Stimulus control therapy is designed to help hypersomnia sufferers feel more refreshed after waking by limiting the amount of time hypersomnia sufferers spend in bed before attempting to fall asleep again. Sleep hygiene education aims to improve quality of sleep by modifying behaviors that can affect sleepiness, such as limiting caffeine intake at night and establishing a regular sleep schedule. Behavioral therapies such as stimulus control therapy and sleep hygiene education can be effective in treating hypersomnia, but hypersomnia is often caused by complex factors such as underlying medical conditions.

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