Not only is hypersomnia extremely disruptive to one’s life, it can also lead to other psychological disorders, such as anxiety and depression.
Getting enough sleep is extremely important for proper health and functioning, however too much sleep and excessive tiredness can impede one from living their life, making it hard to get motivated and get through the day ahead. Understanding this condition is the first step to combating chronic exhaustion and getting your life back. It is important to make an appointment with your doctor to determine what is causing your symptoms and how to best treat it.
Hypersomnia - The Pathological Sleep Disorder
There are many signs and symptoms that are characteristic of hypersomnia:
- Excessive exhaustion during the day
- Sleeping during the day for excessive periods of time
- Difficulty staying awake
- Abruptly falling asleep during the day- Can occur while driving, while at work, while socializing or around the house
- Lack of energy
- Difficulty staying on talk and focusing
- Trouble thinking clearly
Causes of Excessive Sleeping
There are many different reasons why someone may suffer from hypersomnia, including:
- Other sleep disorders, such as:
- Sleep apnea
- Being deprived of sleep at night
- A head injury or a neurological disorder
- Genetics or a family history of hypersomnia and other sleep disorders
- Prescription drugs
The link between hypersomnia and depression is interesting, as both disorders can feed into one another and it can be hard to tell which condition may have caused the other.
- Many people who suffer from mood disorders also struggle with sleep disorders
- Not getting enough sleep can lead to mood imbalances, increasing your chance of developing anxiety and depression
- Having anxiety and depression can lead to longer sleep latency, shorter time in slow-wave sleep and the shift of REM deep sleep to occur earlier in the night. All of these effects lead to poor sleep quality, leading to greater chances of developing hypersomnia
- Both depression and hypersomnia are often co-morbid disorders that can lead to a cycle of both conditions getting worse
Hypersomnia vs. Narcolepsy
Both disorders are characterized by chronic daytime sleepiness and can often be mistakenly diagnosed for one another. However, these disorders are different conditions.
- Narcolepsy is caused by a loss of the neuropeptide, hypocretin, in the brain- this can be due to genetic or non-genetic reasons
- We still do not know what causes hypersomnia
Treatment for Hypersomnia
- Medication- Medication may be prescribed if it is found that the lack of sleep is leading to a mood disorder, or a pre-existing mood disorder is leading to poor sleep quality
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)- Is sleep apnea is the cause of your hypersomnia, you may be instructed to use a CPAP machine at night to ensure your breathing is consistent and you remain asleep
- Changing Sleep Times- Your doctor or sleep specialist may recommend that you go to sleep at earlier times, to ensure you receive a sufficient amount of hours of sleep
- Change Your Diet- Certain foods may be inhibiting your ability to fall asleep. Eliminating sugar and caffeine from your diet may help you fall asleep faster and for longer periods of time