What Is Hypersomnia?

Hypersomnia a condition where in a person has trouble keeping awake during the day. Hypersomnia is basically excessive sleepiness. People with hypersomnia can fall asleep anytime, even while driving. Hypersomniacs usually also have other sleep-related problems such as lack of energy and trouble thinking clearly.

Causes of hypersomnia

Hypersomnia can be caused by other sleeping disorders, as well as several other problems:

  • Sleep disorders such as narcolepsy and sleep apnea.
  • Sleep deprivation (not getting enough sleep at night).
  • Being overweight.
  • Drug and alcohol problems.
  • Head injuries.
  • Neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
  • Tranquilizers and other prescription drugs.
  • Genes.

How is hypersomnia diagnosed?

To diagnose hypersomnia, your doctor would usually ask about your sleeping habits. For example, how much sleep you get at night, do you wake up at night, do you fall asleep during the day. Your doctor will also ask if you have emotional problems or if you are taking any medications that could be disrupting your sleep.

You may also be asked to take some tests such as blood tests, CT scans, polysomnography (a test used to study sleep), and possibly an EEG (electroencephalogram) to measure the electrical activity of the brain.

Treatment for hypersomnia

To treat hypersomnia, your doctor can prescribe medications, including stimulants or antidepressants. There are also newer available medications to treat hypersomnia, such as Provigil and Xyrem.

If your hypersomnia is caused by sleep apnea, your doctor will proceed to cure this problem first. He/She may prescribe a treatment called continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). CPAP treatment makes use of a mask that you wear over your nose while you sleep. This masked is hooked up to a machine that delivers continuous air flow into the nostrils. The airways are kept open by the air flow pressure.

If you are taking medication that induces drowsiness, your doctor may prescribe an alternative medication that will make you less sleepy. You can also try to change your sleeping and eating habits. For example, going to bed early so you can get more sleep and avoiding foods that have caffeine or alcohol.