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Sleeping Disorders: The Concise Guide to Hypersomnia

June 27, 2018


Sleeping Disorders: A Guide to Hypersomnia

The Bed King team of bed supply specialists often provide advice on proper sleeping surfaces for individuals who deal with sleeping disorders. In previous articles we discussed insomnia, sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome; today we discuss hypersomnia - excessive daytime sleepiness that is not linked to insufficient nighttime sleep.

What Is the Definition of Hypersomnia?

To be diagnosed with hypersomnia, you need to sleep in excess of nine hours daily, suffer from daytime sleepiness, and report an inability to stay awake during the course of your daily duties despite the fact that you had a sufficient period of rest during the night. When hypersomnia cannot be attributed to medication or any medical concerns (e.g. depression, low thyroid function, untreated sleep apnea, or certain brain- and liver conditions), it is called primary or idiopathic hypersomnia. Secondary hypersomnia is associated with the use of certain medications or is a symptom or certain illnesses.

The most common symptoms of idiopathic hypersomnia include:

  • Consistently sleeping more than 9/10 hours per day
  • Having immense trouble getting up in the morning
  • Battling a 'groggy' or 'foggy' feeling for a while upon waking
  • Feeling excessively tired throughout the day despite sufficient sleep

DID YOU KNOW? A man called Lloyd Johnson from Australia had such a severe case of misdiagnosed idiopathic hypersomnia that he would sleep up to 18 hours a day. Doctors initially told him that it was all in his head or that he had a vitamin deficiency.

What Kinds of Treatment are Available?

Because idiopathic hypersomnia is still widely misdiagnosed and the root cause may differ from one individual to the next, there is no set treatment protocol. Depending on the way in which the illness presents, doctors may choose to treat with stimulants such as Ritalin, antidepressants such as Prozac or Zoloft, or certain narcolepsy medications such as Xyrem.

These treatments have to be prescribed to a qualified physician who has an overview of the particular case and will be able to advise their patient regarding the best course of action in their individual circumstances. It will normally only be prescribed subsequent to a polysomnogram (an overnight sleep study measuring heart rate, breathing and brain activity during sleep).

The information contained herein is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment in any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition.


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