Hypersomnolence defined

Narcoleptic peopleFor a thorough understanding of the Narcolepsy disorder, click this image to go to our Narcolepsy Overview page. It discusses the symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment of Narcolepsy.

We already know how important sleep is in our lives. If we lack sleep, we feel tired all day. Our ability to function in our daily activities is affected. Our health weakens. Eventually, our quality of life will deteriorate. But what happens if the situation is reversed? What if a person sleeps too much instead? Will it affect one’s life as much as it does when a person lacks sleep? The answer is a big, resounding yes.

SYMPTOMS

Excessive sleeping is medically known as “Hypersomnolence”. In this condition, the person sleeps too much than normal. The people affected usually sleep for 10 hours or more at night. They also nap often for long periods during the day. Attempts to wake them up, like phone calls or alarms, will not rouse them. Even with that amount of time spent sleeping, they will not feel refreshed or rested. They will still feel tired and groggy when awake. Their mental thinking will be less alert. Their motor coordination will be clumsy as well. They will feel irritable all the time and become stressed out. It can also cause emotional problems and affects mental stability. 

Narcoleptic peopleFor a thorough understanding of the Narcolepsy disorder, click this image to go to our Narcolepsy Overview page. It discusses the symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment of Narcolepsy.

Hypersomnolence commonly affects teenagers and young adults. It is a fairly common disorder. It has now affected nearly 5% of the population. Hypersomnolence is also known as excessive daytime somnolence, excessive daytime sleepiness, or hypersomnia. Just like with other sleep disorders, this disorder is underreported. This is because many people wrongly believe that frequent sleepiness and taking naps are normal behavior.

Hypersomnolence is often confused with narcolepsy. This is because they both cause you to sleep excessively at daytime. But they are two different disorders. Narcolepsy involves excessive REM sleep. Hypersomnolence, meanwhile, is characterized by non-REM sleep.

CAUSES

In hypersomnolence, inadequate sleep must first be considered as a cause. If the sleep time is increased and the condition still did not improve, that is the time to look for other possible causes, such as;

  • Disorders like clinical depression, uremia or fibromyalgia can lead to too much sleeping.
  • Sleep disorders like sleep apnea and Narcolepsy. Restless leg syndrome or periodic limb movement disorder can also be possible causes. These conditions disturb the quality of nighttime sleep. Thus, they nap often at daytime to make up for poor rest.
  • It could be an adverse effect of taking certain medications (ex. psychotropics).
  • The person may have been genetically predispositioned.
  • Having too much Magnesium in your body. It is a mineral that a lot of people take as a vitamin supplement.
  • Infection, surgery or Mononucleosis which are exhausting conditions. They can cause too much sleep as the bodies tries to recover.
  • brain damage

Narcoleptic peopleFor a thorough understanding of the Narcolepsy disorder, click this image to go to our Narcolepsy Overview page. It discusses the symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment of Narcolepsy.

CATEGORIES

Hypersomnia is categorized into two main types;

1. Primary Hypersomnia

It is also sometimes called idiopathic hypersomnia. The person experiences excessive daytime sleepiness over a long period of time. The symptoms are present all the time.

2. Recurrent Hypersomnia

It is also sometimes called Recurrent Primary Hypersomnia.  Excessive daytime sleepiness is also experienced. But unlike primary hypersomnia, the symptoms will sometimes go away for an extended period of time.

Both types of hypersomnia are characterized by the same symptoms. However, the symptoms occur differently in frequency and regularity.

TREATMENT

There is no known cure for the disorder. However, the following lifestyle adjustments can help manage the symptoms;

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat healthy foods. The right daily amount of vitamins and nutrients must be taken each day.
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Naps  must be avoided during the day. It will prevent the body from adjusting to a regular sleeping time.
  • Sleep in a comfortable sleeping environment.
  • Caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes must be avoided before going to bed.

These lifestyle adjustments can affect the quality of our sleep. How we sleep in return will affect how we feel the next day. If the problem still persists, you can choose to get professional treatment. Doctors will usually prescribe medications to treat the symptoms.

People often have problems with lack of sleep or too much sleep. Whichever your problem is, it’s obvious that a good, quality sleep is essential. Sleep is not a luxury. It is a necessity to staying alive. We must therefore make sure that our body has enough time to rest and rejuvenate. That way, we can hurdle the challenges we constantly face in our lives.