Hypersomnia is a sleep disorder in which people sleep too much, either at night or during the day. Some people naturally sleep for longer periods and aren't considered to have a sleep disorder. But others may sleep excessively with some distinguishing traits. There are three types of hypersomnia:
- Recurrent hypersomnia lasts several weeks and can recur periodically. Some people experience binge eating and hypersexuality with the excessive sleeping. This type is most common among adolescent males.
- Idiopathic (meaning "of unknown cause") hypersomnia is often mistaken for narcolepsy because the symptoms are similar. The major difference is the absence of cataplexy, sleep paralysis and sleep-related hallucinations.
- Posttraumatic hypersomnia can occur as a result of a head injury and usually includes headaches and concentration and memory problems. The symptoms usually begin immediately after the injury.
Treatment for hypersomnia can include one or more prescription medications. Since the cause of idiopathic hypersomnia is not known, treatment is limited to managing symptoms. An accurate diagnosis is critical before any treatment can begin.
In another primary sleep disorder, restless leg syndrome, a physical affliction prevents the sufferer from falling asleep. Learn more about RLS on the next page.
For more information on how to get a good night's sleep, see:
- How Sleep Works
- Causes of Insomnia
- How to Fall Asleep
- Sleep Medications
- Natural Sleep Aids
- How to Help A Child Who Is Having Trouble Falling Asleep
- Is Lack of Sleep Making Me Fat?
- Is Science Phasing Out Sleep?