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.
HOW IS HYPERSOMNIA DIAGNOSED?
A general physician would ask the patients detailed questions about their sleeping habits, such as how many hours they sleep, whether they fall asleep during the day and if they are on any medications that could cause sleepiness. Blood tests, CT scans and a sleep test also known as a polysomnography might be advised and recommend. An EEF to measure brain activity would be required.
HOW IS HYPERSOMNIA TREATED?
Treatment is symptomatic in nature. Stimulants, such as amphetamine, methylphenidate, and modafinil, may be prescribed. Other drugs used to treat hypersomnia include clonidine, levodopa, bromocriptine, antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Changes in behavior (for example avoiding night work and social activities that delay bedtime) and diet may offer some relief. Patients should avoid alcohol and caffeine.
DID YOU KNOW?
This condition is similar to narcolepsy in that you are extremely sleepy. It is different from narcolepsy because idiopathic hypersomnia does not usually involve suddenly falling asleep (sleep attacks) or losing muscle control due to strong emotions (cataplexy). Also, unlike narcolepsy, naps in idiopathic hypersomnia are usually not refreshing.