Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)

Excessive Daytime Sleepiness or Hypersomnia

Excessive Daytime Sleepiness or Hypersomnia

Hypersomnia is a sleep disorder where individuals spend too much time sleeping during both the day and night.  They sleep an excessive amount during the day, yet are still tired at night and need a full night’s sleep. It is the opposite of insomnia where people either cannot get to sleep or awaken repeatedly during the night.

The basic definition of hypersomnia is extreme tiredness. You might ask yourself, “Why am I sleepy all the time?” or have trouble with concentration. And you might have excessive daytime sleepiness and feel the need to take naps during the day. Confusingly, you could also be sleeping too long at night.

Symptoms of hypersomnia can include:

  • Low energy levels
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability
  • Slow thinking or speech
  • Difficulty in remembering

Forms of hypersomnia can include conditions caused by medical issues or injuries. For example, someone who is diagnosed with sleep apnea may also suffer from hypersomnia. Because this person cannot achieve quality sleep during the night due to breathing issues, they sleep more during the day. We would call this “secondary hypersomnia.”

Other causes for secondary hypersomnia can include:

  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Low thyroid function
  • Head injury
  • Drug, alcohol or tobacco use or abuse
  • Insufficient sleep syndrome
  • Psychiatric disorders like depression
  • Certain medications

To diagnose hypersomnia, your doctor will review your medical history and listen to your symptoms, as well as perform an examination. He or she may then refer you to treatment plan that can include:

  • Medications
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Diet changes
  • Creation of a peaceful sleeping environment
  • Sleep center tests for sleep apnea or sleep disorders

You can learn more about your symptoms for excessive daytime sleepiness or hypersomnia by contacting the doctors at Airway & Sleep Group.

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