Hypersomnia

man asleep at desk next to computer with coffee in handWhat is Hypersomnia or Excessive Daytime Sleepiness?

Hypersomnia, or excessive sleepiness, is a condition in which a person has trouble staying awake during the day. People who have hypersomnia can fall asleep at any time; for instance, at work or while they are driving. They may also have other sleep-related problems, including a lack of energy and trouble thinking clearly.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, up to 40% of people have some symptoms of hypersomnia from time to time.

What are the symptoms of Hypersomnia?

  • Tendency to fall asleep anytime anywhere – in the middle of an activity like driving, conversing, etc. 
  • The chronic sleepiness results in frequent naps, which are non-refreshing. 
  • Confusion and disorientation on waking up. 
  • Sleeping for inordinately long hours and finding it tough to wake up. 
  • Irritability, depression, slowness in speech and thinking, hallucinations

How is Hypersomnia diagnosed?

In making a diagnosis of hypersomnia, your doctor will ask you about your sleeping habits, how much sleep you get at night, if you wake up at night, and whether you fall asleep during the day. Your doctor will also want to know if you are having any emotional problems or are taking any drugs that may be interfering with your sleep.

Your doctor may also order some tests, including blood tests, computed tomography (CT) scans, or a sleep test called polysomnography (PSG or NPSG).

How is Hypersomnia treated?

If you are diagnosed with hypersomnia, your doctor may suggest changes to your sleep environment and sleep routines or prescribe medications.