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Idiopathic Hypersomnia

Sleep is just as important for health as eating right and physical activity. A sleep disorder can affect a person’s day to day life and overall health. The experts at Banner Health are here to help treat and manage any sleep disorders.

What is Idiopathic Hypersomnia?

Idiopathic hypersomnia is a chronic disorder that causes an excessive sleepiness, even after a full night’s sleep. While uncommon, this disorder causes difficulty waking up after being asleep throughout the night or after a nap. Additionally, people with idiopathic hypersomnia will not feel refreshed after any amount of sleep.

Much like narcolepsy, idiopathic hypersomnia causes a sudden need to sleep at any time. This can be potentially dangerous, especially when driving or working.

Factors and Symptoms of Idiopathic Hypersomnia

There is currently very little research on idiopathic hypersomnia, but it is believed that it may be caused by a combination of symptoms from other conditions, such as a brain abnormality, a low-grade unknown infection or brain damage.

Some patients with hypersomnia also suffer from other psychiatric conditions, such as anxiety, depression or psychosis.

Symptoms of excessive sleepiness from idiopathic hypersomnia can also be complicated by other factors, including:

  • Irregular sleep schedules
  • Excessive stimulant or sedative medications
  • Other sleep conditions, such as sleep apnea

Diagnosis and Testing for Idiopathic Hypersomnia

To diagnose idiopathic hypersomnia, your doctor will review your symptoms, go over your medical history and medications and conduct a physical examination. Once these initial items have been reviewed, your doctor may ask you to keep a sleep diary and order additional tests for a full diagnosis and to rule out other sleep disorders, such as:

  • A polysomnogram, performed in a sleep center overnight
  • An Epworth Sleepiness Scale test
  • A multiple sleep latency test, usually conducted the day after a polysomnography

Treatment for Idiopathic Hypersomnia

Since the cause of idiopathic hypersomnia remains unknown, treatment is centered around easing the symptoms caused by hypersomnia. In some cases, stimulant medication may be prescribed to help patients stay away during the day.

Other treatments include:

  • Keeping a regular nighttime sleep schedule
  • Avoiding alcohol and medications that can affect sleep

If you are not getting the sleep you need, our sleep specialists can work with you to determine a cause and treatment plan. Talk to your doctor today.