Hypersomnia is a form of sleeping disorder due to which a person finds it difficult to stay awake. They always feel the need to take a nap. Hypersomnia is of three different types. They are: recurrent , post-traumatic and idiopathic. Those with recurrent hypersomnia sleep for 15 hours or more at a stretch in a day.
Posttraumatic hypersomnia occurs due to some disease or physical injury. In idiopathic hypersomnia, people tend to feel sleepy even after long hours of sleep at night. There are a number of other symptoms that often accompany this condition of excessive sleepiness.
Symptoms are: anxiety, mental confusion, memory problem, concentration problem, disorientation, etc. This is more prevalent in teens and young adults.
In most cases, the real cause of hypersomnia is not clearly identified. However, there are a number of risk factors. Hypersomnia may result from other sleeping disorders. If a person's sleep gets disrupted due to sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome, then he or she tends to experience recurrent sleeping episodes throughout the day.
Inadequate sleep at night due to birth of a baby or working in night shifts may trigger this problem. Other possible causes that can contribute towards this problem are as follows:
- Head injury
- Neurological disease
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Side effects of prescription drugs
If you are experiencing sleepiness throughout the day and that too persistently, then you must visit a doctor for proper diagnosis of the problem. Doctors will first have an open discussion with you about your lifestyle and medical history.
If you have some emotional problems, then it has to be taken into account. Then a number of laboratory tests like a blood test, CT scan, and a sleep test known as a polysomnography are conducted for further diagnosis.
Doctors prescribe medication like stimulants and antidepressants which help the patient to stay awake and overcome the sluggishness. The underlying condition responsible for hypersomnia has to be treated as well.
Those patients who have developed the problem because of sleep apnea have to undergo a treatment called continuous positive airway pressure (or CPAP) which will prevent frequent disruption of sleep at night. During the course of treatment, the patient has to wear a mask which is attached to a machine that ensures constant supply of air into the nostrils.
This will keep the air passage open and prevent breathing cessation. When it is a side effect of any other medicine that the patient is taking for treating some health condition, then that particular medicine needs to be changed to provide relief from this constant sleepiness.
Just medicines are not enough for treating this condition. A few lifestyle changes also needed to ensure faster recovery from the problem.
They are as follows:
- The daily diet should be healthy that include foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals.
- Regular exercising is also important as it will help you to lose weight and stay active. If you can exercise 4 or 5 hours before bedtime, it will be very helpful.
- Try to go to bed early so that you can get more sleeping time at night. You should fix up a bedtime for yourself and stick to that.
- Working in night shifts or socializing till late hours at night should be strictly avoided.
- Keep the sleeping environment cool, comfortable and well ventilated which will help you to catch up with sound sleep.
- Stay away from alcohol and cigarettes. Both these substances have an adverse effect on your sleep.
- Do not drink tea, coffee, cola or eat chocolates just before going to bed. These could be responsible for poor quality sleep.
Hypersomnia treatment often gets delayed as people assume that the sleepiness is simply because they are tired. Though the fact remains that they feel sleepy even after sleeping for long hours. It may become a cause of concern if you tend to fall asleep anywhere and everywhere.
The moment you feel that you are falling asleep in between activities like eating, talking or driving it is time for you to visit the doctor.