Hypersomnia is excessive sleepiness. It is an excessively deep or prolonged major sleep period. 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.
What are the Symptoms?
Long sleep periods
Excessive sleepiness or excessively deep sleep
The onset is insidious (gradually, so you are not aware of it at first)
Typically appears before age 25
Has been present for at lest six months
How does a doctor determine that I have hypersomnia?
The first step is to consult a sleep specialist. The specialist will probably order a polysomnography test (sleep study) where you stay overnight while Technologists monitor your muscle movement, heartbeat, eye movement, leg movements and respiration. The specialist may also want to do a Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) that tests how sleepy you are.
How can it be treated?
Since the cause is still unknown, treatment consists of behavioral changes, good sleep hygiene and taking stimulants to help you be more alert. Limit your naps to one (preferably in the afternoon) lasting no longer than 45 minutes. Get at least 8 hours of sleep. Avoid shiftwork, alcohol and caffeine. Your doctor will determine the amount and type of stimulant you should take.
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