For some people, a sleep disorder automatically implies that they are not sleeping enough. However, hypersomnia is the opposite problem, too much sleep. Hypersomnia can leave you with severe and disabling daytime sleepiness even if you have slept for ten or more hours at night.
This sleep disorder may leave you sleeping twelve or even fourteen hours each night, usually without any disturbances. Despite getting enough sleep you may not be able to wake up in the morning or be very slow to rise. When you do wake, you may have sleep drunkenness, which is marked by confusion or appearing to be drunk or only partially awake.
The exact cause of this sleep disorder is not known; however, it tends to start gradually after the age of thirty and can affect men and women equally. It is very rare in children and is rarer than narcolepsy. The symptoms of idiopathic hypersomnia may be mistaken for narcolepsy in some cases.
The symptoms of this sleep disorder include:
- Excessive nighttime sleep followed by excessive daytime sleepiness
- Long daytime naps that are not refreshing
- Forgetfulness, even with simple activities
- Overactive sex drive
- Sleep paralysis
The treatment for this sleep disorder focuses on the symptom of sleepiness. The same medications that are used to treat narcolepsy may be used for this sleep disorder. Treatment includes:
Sleep medication to control daytime sleepiness such as Provigil or Nuvigil
- Keeping regular sleep times
- Avoiding certain medications which can cause more sleepiness
- Avoiding alcohol
- Applying better sleep tips
Many people who are suspected of having this sleep disorder will have to go to a sleep specialist or sleep clinic so that they can have a sleep study performed for proper diagnosis and treatment.
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