What Is Hypersomnia? Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options for Excessive Sleepiness

Hypersomnia Causes

What is Hypersomnia?

Hypersomnia is a sleep disorder caused by excessive sleepiness and excessive sleep duration. It is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, which leads to an inability to stay awake during the day and reduced alertness while awake. People affected by hypersomnia often experience longer periods of sleep than normal and may require more than 10 hours of sleep per night in order to function properly during the day.

Causes of Hypersomnia

The exact cause of hypersomnia is unknown, but there are several factors that may contribute to its development. Some of these include:

  • Stress: Stress can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate its sleep-wake cycle, resulting in periods of excessive sleepiness.
  • Neurological Disorders: Neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and narcolepsy, can cause disruptions in the normal sleep-wake cycle.
  • Medications: Certain prescription medications, such as sedatives and antidepressants, can cause drowsiness and lead to excessive sleepiness during the day.
  • Sleep Apnea: Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep and can cause feelings of exhaustion during the day.
  • Obesity: Obesity can contribute to a decrease in energy levels, resulting in excessive sleepiness.

Symptoms of Hypersomnia

Hypersomnia can be characterized by a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulty staying awake during the day
  • Decreased alertness while awake
  • Lack of energy
  • Irritability
  • Memory problems
  • Depression

Treatment Options for Hypersomnia

Treatment of hypersomnia requires a comprehensive approach that involves lifestyle modifications and the use of medications.

Lifestyle Modifications

Lifestyle modifications can be effective in treating hypersomnia and its symptoms. These modifications include:

  • Exercise regularly as exercise can help improve energy levels, focus, and sleep quality.
  • Reduce or avoid caffeine, alcohol, and other stimulants as these can interfere with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule and set a consistent bedtime and wake time.
  • Avoid taking naps during the day to prevent disruption in the sleep-wake cycle.


Medications can also be used to help treat hypersomnia. Stimulants can help keep a person alert and awake during the day. Narcolepsy medications can be used to help improve sleep quality and increase energy levels. Antidepressants can be used to treat depression and other mood disorders that can affect sleep.


Hypersomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by excessive sleepiness and excessive sleep duration. It can be caused by stress, neurological disorders, medications, sleep apnea, or obesity. Treatment of hypersomnia requires lifestyle modifications and the use of medications, such as stimulants, narcolepsy medications, and antidepressants. If you or someone you know is experiencing excessive sleepiness or difficulties staying awake during the day, it is important to seek medical advice from a healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment.

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