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Is… Hypersomnia troubling you?

Hypersomnia is the opposite of insomnia. People with hypersomnia sleep too much. Of course, “too much” is a subjective evaluation. You can always argue that the person “needs” that much sleep, and in reality, there is no fixed amount of sleep that’s right for everyone.

But serious medical people try to define hypersomnia as a real medical phenomenon. It is an excessively deep or prolonged major sleep period. Persons with hypersomnia are compelled to nap repeatedly during the day, often at inappropriate times such as at work, during a meal, or in conversation. These daytime naps usually provide no relief from symptoms.

Like insomnia, hypersomnia can have many causes, and in many or most cases, the cause is unknown. Some people appear to have a genetic predisposition to hypersomnia. It may be associated with difficulty in awakening. It is believed to be caused by the central nervous system and can be associated with a normal or prolonged major sleep episode and excessive sleepiness consisting of prolonged (1-2 hours) sleep episodes of non-REM sleep. The onset is insidious (gradually, so you are not aware of it at first). Hypersomnia typically affects adolescents and young adults. This condition typically appears before age 25.

A person with hypersomnia may sleep up to twelve hours a night, and still need frequent daytime naps. Most hypersomnia is idiopathic, or periodic, and episodes may occur weeks or months apart. If the condition is diagnosed as recurrent hypersomnia, this is also called Kleine-Levin Syndrome. Post-traumatic stress disorder sometimes includes hypersomnia as a symptom.

Patients often have difficulty waking from a long sleep, and may feel disoriented. Other symptoms may include anxiety, increased irritation, decreased energy, restlessness, slow thinking, slow speech, loss of appetite, hallucinations, and memory difficulty. Some patients lose the ability to function in family, social, occupational, or other settings. Hypersomnia may be caused by another sleep disorder (such as narcolepsy or sleep apnea), dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, or drug or alcohol abuse. In some cases it results from a physical problem, such as a tumor, head trauma, or injury to the central nervous system. Certain medications, or medicine withdrawal, may also cause hypersomnia.

Treatment for hypersomnia often attacks the symptoms, not the underlying cause, often because the underlying cause is unknown or no treatment for the cause exists. So doctors often prescribe stimulants just to keep people awake, including amphetamine, methylphenidate, and modafinil. Other drugs used to treat hypersomnia include clonidine, levodopa, bromocriptine, antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Specialists also recommend sleep hygiene practices similar to those for other sleep disorders.

The prognosis for persons with hypersomnia depends on the cause of the disorder. The disorder itself is not life threatening, but in our modern society falling asleep at the wrong time can be dangerous, such as in drowsy driving. The attacks usually continue indefinitely.

Kleine – Levin Syndrome is a recurrent form of hypersomnia. It is also called recurrent hypersomnia. Narcolepsy could also be classified as a form of hypersomnia.

“Like all other forms of pleasure, sleep may become a passion” – Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarian – The Pyschology of Taste, 1825

 

Sweet Dreams...

 

Source; http://www.sleepdex.org/hypersomnia.htm

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