Hypersomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness or prolonged nighttime sleep, despite adequate or even prolonged sleep at night. It is different from feeling tired or fatigued, which can be caused by a variety of factors.
There are several types of hypersomnia, including:
- Idiopathic hypersomnia: This type of hypersomnia is characterized by excessive sleepiness during the day, even after a full night’s sleep, with no identifiable cause.
- Narcolepsy: This neurological disorder is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, sudden loss of muscle tone (cataplexy), hallucinations, and sleep paralysis.
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): This is a condition in which the airway becomes blocked during sleep, leading to frequent waking during the night and excessive daytime sleepiness.
- Restless legs syndrome (RLS): This condition is characterized by an uncomfortable sensation in the legs that can only be relieved by movement, leading to disrupted sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness.
Hypersomnia can have a significant impact on an individual’s daily life, leading to difficulty with work or school performance, impaired memory and concentration, and increased risk of accidents or injuries. Treatment for hypersomnia typically involves identifying and addressing the underlying cause, such as treating OSA with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, treating RLS with medication, or managing narcolepsy with stimulant medications. Lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and avoiding caffeine and alcohol, may also be helpful.