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Understanding Hypersomnia

Last updated 3 years ago

Hypersomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by prolonged sleep at night or feelings of extreme drowsiness throughout the day. People who suffer from hypersomnia feel the need to nap throughout the day, often at inopportune times such as while they are working, having dinner, or talking with friends and family. For people with hypersomnia, frequent napping doesn’t help restore energy or alleviate hypersomnia symptoms. Here’s what you need to know about hypersomnia.

Symptoms of hypersomnia

People with hypersomnia often have difficulty walking after waking up from a long sleep or feel disoriented when waking up. Other symptoms include feeling anxious, irritable, restless, or lethargic. For some people, these symptoms become so extreme that they are unable to function in social or occupational settings. Sometimes, hypersomnia even leads to loss of appetite, hallucinations, and memory problems.

Causes of hypersomnia

Certain sleep disorders like narcolepsy or sleep apnea can lead to hypersomnia. Other potential causes of hypersomnia include nervous system dysfunction, alcohol or drug abuse, and serious head trauma. In addition, medical conditions like multiple sclerosis, depression, and obesity can lead to hypersomnia. While research suggests that certain people are genetically predisposed to hypersomnia, other people develop it without any known cause. Either way, the symptoms generally appear during adolescence or young adulthood.

Treatment for hypersomnia

The treatment for hypersomnia depends on the cause of the condition. For example, when hypersomnia is brought on by a different sleep disorder, treatment may include addressing that underlying condition. Physicians may also treat hypersomnia through various medications or by suggesting lifestyle modifications like going to bed earlier and eliminating alcohol and caffeine consumption. If a patient is currently taking a medication that causes drowsiness, then a physician may suggest switching to another type of medication.

A comprehensive consultation at Sleep Services of Maryland includes a personal examination in a comfortable environment and the development of a personalized treatment plan. Our mission is to raise awareness of sleep disorders and to provide high-quality care in the field of sleep medicine. For more information, call us at (240) 912-4683.


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