Hypersomnia is defined as excessive sleepiness. This can be either in the form of recurrent episodes of excessive daytime sleepiness or prolonged night sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 20 out of 100 people suffer from hypersomnia.
You can initially try fixing your hypersomnia by making some lifestyle changes. Such as:
- Try to maintain a regular sleeping schedule.
- Sleep in a peaceful room.
- Do not stay awake until late at night.
- Limit alcohol intake (less than 2 drinks/day for men and less than 1 drink/day for women)
- Do not take caffeine 4-5 hours before going to bed at night.
- Ask your doctor if you are on any medicines that can cause drowsiness. Ask if you can switch to a non-drowsy medication.
If these simple steps do not help you in reducing your excessive sleeping condition, you should schedule an appointment with either your physician or a sleep specialist. The physician or the sleep specialist will find the exact cause of your hypersomnia and advice treatments accordingly. They can also suggest effective ways that help you sleep well at night.
What causes hypersomnia?
Based on the causes, hypersomnia can be divided into two types:
Secondary hypersomnia: This is caused by conditions that include:
- Obstructive sleep apnea (cessation of breathing during sleep that results in snoring)
- Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
- Head injury
- Hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone levels)
- Heart problems
- Restless leg syndrome (an uncontrollable urge to move the legs continuously)
- Narcolepsy (extreme daytime sleepiness and sudden attacks of sleep)
- Bipolar disorder (mood swings that range from extreme highs to extreme lows)
How do you know if you have hypersomnia?
If you have hypersomnia, you will
- Have frequent naps during the day.
- Sleep for 10 or more hours and still not feel refreshed.
- Fall asleep during any activity, such as eating, talking, driving.
With hypersomnia, you may
- Get frequently tired
- Stay less alert
- Suffer from anxiety
- Become irritable easily
- Develop restlessness
- Make mistakes often
- Have poor judgment
- Work less efficiently
Excessive sleepiness can become a serious issue when you fall asleep in the middle of an activity that requires you to stay awake, such as driving that could lead to motor accidents.
What is the treatment for hypersomnia?
The treatment for hypersomnia includes medications that include
- Stimulants: Armodafinil, modafinil, methylphenidate, or dextroamphetamine are the most commonly used medications for hypersomnia.
- Antidepressants: These include amitriptyline, clomipramine, and doxepin amongst many others.
- Newer medications: Some of these include Provigil and Xyrem.
Along with the medications, it is also necessary to follow a regular sleep schedule.
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Excessive Sleepiness. Available at: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/excessive-sleepiness
Hypersomnia Information Page. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Hypersomnia-Information-Page