Hypersomnia: The 13 Most Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Diaries (Part 19): Hypersomnia – The 13 Most Frequently Asked Questions

Hypersomnia
Contributed by: Rachana Arya

 

Introduction

Hypersomnia is a rare neurologic sleep disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness despite adequate, or more typically, prolonged nighttime sleep (e.g., more than 10 to 11 hours per night). Persons with hypersomnia sleep long amounts of time each night. Yet they feel excessively sleepy during the day and are forced to nap repeatedly, often at inappropriate times such as at work, during a meal, or during a conversation.

Hypersomnia includes napping in the office, pulling over the car to take naps during road trips and calling off “sick” to sleep more. The majority of the time, these daytime naps can be very long—on the scale of hours—and are usually not refreshing or helpful. 

Read on to find out more about the general gist of hypersomnia: what it is, what it does, & how it affects you.

 

FAQ #1: How many hours is hypersomnia?

People with hypersomnia also called excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) might require as many as 10 to 12 hours of sleep per night to feel their best.

 

FAQ #2: What are the symptoms of hypersomnia?

Patients often experience:

 

    • Difficulty waking from a long sleep
    • Non-restorative sleep
    • Severe sleep inertia
    • Disorientation
    • Anxiety
    • Increased irritation
    • Mental fogginess
    • Decreased energy
    • Restlessness
    • Slow thinking
    • Slow speech
    • Loss of appetite
    • Hallucinations
    • Memory difficulty
    • Inability to carry out even basic tasks

 

FAQ #3: How is hypersomnia different from insomnia?

Hypersomnia differs from insomnia, as the latter is the inability to sleep, while the former is the inability to stay awake.

 

FAQ #4: Is hypersomnia a common sleep disorder?

Not very. Hypersomnia is considered a “rare disease,” believed to be less common than insomnia and thus, there’s much less awareness around hypersomnia than around insomnia.

 

FAQ #5: What causes hypersomnia?

Hypersomnia may be caused due to:

 

    • Another sleep disorder like sleep apnea or narcolepsy 
    • Dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system
    • Illegal drug or alcohol abuse
    • A physical injury, a tumour, or head trauma
    • Certain medications, or medicine withdrawal
    • Medical conditions (multiple sclerosis, depression, encephalitis, epilepsy)
    • Obesity

 

FAQ #6: Is hypersomnia a serious disorder?

The prognosis for hypersomnia sufferers is determined by the origin of the disorder. While the disease isn’t life-threatening in itself, it can have major implications, such as car accidents caused by falling asleep behind the wheel.

 

FAQ 7: When do the symptoms first manifest?

Symptoms usually develop in the mid-to-late teens or early twenties, but they can also start in childhood or later in life.

 

FAQ #8: Is there a connection between depression and hypersomnia?

Depression can cause hypersomnia. The relationship between the two conditions, however, is complicated, and it’s unclear what causes one to cause the other.

 

FAQ #9: How is hypersomnia treated?

There are several psycho-social intervention methods to help patients improve their quality of life. These include:

 

    • Treatment of the underlying illness
    • Discontinuation of the medications causing hypersomnia
    • Lifestyle adjustments 
    • Cognitive-behavioural therapy 
    • The use of wakefulness-promoting medications

 

FAQ #10: Is hypersomnia a serious condition?

While hypersomnia cannot be regarded as a serious sleep disturbance, it can definitely be regarded as worrisome and problematic. This is because it has the potential to severely disrupt one’s daily life. It impairs cognitive ability and results in major disturbances in social and family life. Untreated hypersomnia can put a person’s life in danger.

 

FAQ #11: Is hypersomnia curable?

Hypersomnia is, fortunately, a curable condition. A hypersomnia sufferer’s sleep needs can be returned to a desirable and non-excessive level with the help of a sleep physician, and the disturbing and potentially embarrassing fatigue during the day can be eased.

 

FAQ #12: Does hypersomnia get worse with age?

Typically, the symptoms begin in adolescence or young adulthood, although they can appear at any age. After its onset, hypersomnia often worsens with age and time.

 

FAQ #13: Are there any Ayurvedic remedies to get rid of the problem?

Ayurveda offers time-tested herbs with incredible therapeutic properties that truly support our bodies in reclaiming their natural rhythms. Some of them are:

    • Brahmi/gotu kola 
    • Triphala
    • Ashwagandha
    • Brahmi

 

Final thoughts

The truth is that oversleeping, like sleep deprivation, is a very real concern for many people, and can throw the body into a tailspin. Oversleeping can sometimes be a sign of a more serious health issue. Regular health screenings are a great way to keep a check on your health and take adequate measures the moment a red flag is raised. 

 

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