April 30, 2010

Hypersomnia Causes & Symptoms

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Hypersomnia is a disorder that is characterized by excessive sleepiness or an inability to stay awake or excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) or prolonged nighttime sleep. This disorder is commonly seen among adolescents or young adults and only 5% of adults complain of EDS. It starts between the ages of 15 to 30 and develops slowly with years. Here, the person who suffers from hypersomnia needs to have day naps, even though they have had their 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep. They even feel compelled to take naps at inappropriate times like during work, during a conversation, meals and so on.


The causes of hypersomnia are not physical but psychological. The following are some of the causes:

  • Sleep deprivation or sleep disorders like narcolepsy (day time sleepiness), sleep apnea (interruptions of breathing during sleep), restless leg syndrome (an urge to move one’s body to feel comfortable), periodic limb movement disorder (involuntary movements of the limbs)
  • It could be a result of brain damage or a dysfunction in the autonomic nervous system.
  • People who suffer from clinical depression (a state where a person is always in a low mood, always has low self esteem and has no interest in normal enjoyable activities).
  • It may also occur if a person is under certain medications for depression or anxiety, or on the other hand a withdrawal of certain medications, drugs and alcohol.
  • Overweight or obese people are likely to suffer from hypersomnia, as sleeping for long hours decreases the metabolic rate, which in turn reduces weight loss.
  • When a person suffers from mononucleosis (infectious viral disease) hypersomnia would be an immediate result.
  • Influenza can also cause hypersomnia among children.


The symptoms of hypersomnia would be displayed for a month before the patient can be diagnosed with the same. Feeling tired because of lack of sleep or uninterrupted sleep, should not be mistaken for hypersomnia. The following are the symptoms of hypersomnia:

  • Napping frequently during the day, and yet waking up not feeling refreshed.
  • Patient suffers from excessive sleepiness for as much as a month or may be less.
  • This would include conditions like sleeping for very long hours and napping for long hours during the day.

  • The excessive sleep could cause clinical depression, impairment in ones social life, occupational life and other important areas.
  • Some of the other symptoms include anxiety, slow thinking, and slurry speech, loss of appetite, hallucinations, increased irritation, and loss of energy, restlessness and difficulty in remembering.
  • Some patients may find it difficult to function in a family and in one’s occupation.