Excessive Sleepiness | Hypersomnia | Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

Excessive Sleepiness

Excessive sleepiness is also called as hypersomnia.

It is an excessively deep or prolonged major sleep period.

It may be associated with difficulty in awakening.

Not sleeping long enough is one of the most common causes of excessive daytime sleepiness.

Other things may be causing your sleep problem, if you are still excessively sleepy during the day after getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night for 7 to 10 days.

Excessive sleepiness is unsafe. It makes a person as unsafe behind the wheel as one who is under the influence of alcohol. Excessive sleepiness can result in accidents while operating equipment because sleepiness decreases our attention to details.

Some medical causes of daytime sleepiness may also lead to high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, memory problems, emotional or personality changes, and even strokes.

Causes Of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

Excessive daytime sleepiness is also caused due to being overweight. Smoking also emerged as a cause of excessive daytime sleepiness. Many types of medications also cause excessive sleepiness.

If you take any medications, it would be wise to discuss your sleepiness with the prescribing general practitioner to see if a change in medication would help. You may have a sleep disorder, if a change in medication doesn't help, or if your medications do not usually cause sleepiness.

Excessive sleepiness is believed to be caused by the central nervous system and can be connected with a normal or extended major sleep episodes of non-REM sleep and is characterized by:

  1. Long sleep periods.
  2. Excessive sleepiness or excessively deep sleep.
  3. The onset is insidious (gradually, so you are not aware of it at first).
  4. Normally appears before age 25.
  5. Has been present for at lest six months.

A person with excessive sleepiness may sleep up to twelve hours a night, and still need frequent daytime naps.

Associated Features:

Fainting Episodes

Hypnagogic Hallucinations and Sleep Paralysis may be encountered occasionally.

Headaches, which may be Migraine’s in quality.

Consequences Of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

    • Excessive sleepiness will lead to poor school performance. Sleepiness can cause impaired learning, perceptual skills, and memory, which may lead to poor school performance.
    • Excessive sleepiness may cause work-related accidents. Sleepiness on the job causes performance faults and increases the risk of accidents.
    • Excessive sleepiness may also lead to motor vehicle accidents. Sleepiness may be the main cause of over one-third of all fatal traffic accidents and as many as one-half of all traffic accidents.

Excessive Sleepiness Treatment

Since the cause for excessive sleepiness is still unknown, treatment consists of behavioral treatment; good sleep hygiene and taking stimulants to help you be more attentive. Avoid shift work, alcohol and caffeine. Limit your naps to one lasting no longer than 45 minutes. Get at least 81/2 hours of sleep.


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