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.
Hypersomnia is usually indicated by long sleep periods and excessive sleepiness or excessively deep sleep. The onset is insidious (gradually, so you are not aware of it at first). It typically appears before age 25. A diagnosis is made if symptoms have been present for at least 6 months.
The 1st 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.
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 1 (preferably in the afternoon) lasting no longer than 45 minutes. Get at least 8½ hours of sleep. Avoid shift work, alcohol and caffeine. Your doctor will determine the amount and type of stimulant you should take.
Request an appointment online today to receive more information about your personal health and learn how Wake Forest can help.