Hypersomnia: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Hypersomnia: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Hypersomnia is a significant increase in the duration of sleep, usually accompanied by daytime drowsiness. The main signs of hypersomnia are; the duration of a night sleep more than 10 hours, constant or paroxysmal daytime sleepiness, the absence of a significant improvement in the state after a nap, a difficult and prolonged spill, often with the symptom of intoxication with sleep. Diagnosed hypersomnia based on clinical data, test results and polysomnography. Hypersomnia therapy consists in observing a certain sleep regimen, treating a causative disease and applying stimulant medications.

Causes of hypersomnia

Sleep and wakefulness in the human body is regulated by a complex system of mutual activating and inhibitory influences occurring between the cerebral cortex, subcortical structures, limbic system and reticular formation. Hypersomnia develops as a result of disruption of the functioning of this system, which can be due to a variety of different causes.

Psychophysiological hypersomnia can occur in healthy people after prolonged lack of sleep, physical and mental fatigue, and the transferred stress. The development of this type of hypersomnia can be associated with the use of certain medications, for example, antipsychotics, tranquilizers, antihistamines, hypoglycemic drugs and hypotensive drugs.

Diagnosis of hypersomnia

Since patients themselves are not always able to objectively assess their sleep problems, generally accepted tests are used to diagnose hypersomnia; the Stanford sleepiness scale and the latency test for sleep.

An important diagnostic value is the conduct of polysomnography. In the case of narcolepsy hypersomnia polysomnography reveals shortening of the period of falling asleep, frequent nocturnal awakenings and early onset of the phase of fast sleep, while normally a rapid sleep occurs on average 80 minutes after falling asleep. A similar pattern of sleep can be observed with hypersomnia associated with sleep apnea syndrome. In this case, it is possible to diagnose correctly the detection of concomitant respiratory disorders during polysomnography.

Treatment of hypersomnia

Successful therapy of hypersomnia is closely related to the effective treatment of that disease, one of the symptoms of which it is. If the complete cure of the underlying disease is not possible (for example, in the case of narcolepsy), then the treatment of hypersomnia is aimed at maximizing the quality of life of the patient.

Compliance with the sleep regime is of great importance in the treatment of hypersomnia. The patient should exclude work in the evening and night shifts, adhere to the same time of retirement, it is mandatory to include in your daily schedule 1-2 days of sleep. It is desirable that the duration of a night’s sleep does not exceed 9 hours. With idiopathic hypersomnia, the recommended duration of a day’s sleep is 45 minutes. Along with the hygiene of sleep, you should avoid drinking alcohol and too heavy food, as well as eating directly before bed.


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