Hypersomnia – Diagnosis, Treatment and Self care
Hypersomnia is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, and daytime naps that do not result in a more refreshed or alert feeling.
If you consistently feel drowsy during the day, talk to your doctor.
In making a diagnosis of hypersomnia, your doctor will ask you about your sleeping habits; if you wake up at night, how much sleep you get at night, and whether you fall asleep during the day.
Your doctor will also want to know if you are having any emotional problems or are taking any medications that may be interfering with your sleep.
The doctor may also order some tests, including blood tests, computed tomography (CT) scans, and a sleep test called polysomnography. In some cases, an additional electroencephalogram (EEG), which measures the electrical activity of the brain, is needed.
Hypersomnia treatment is symptomatic in nature. If you are diagnosed with hypersomnia, your doctor can prescribe various drugs to treat hypersomnia. Stimulants, such as amphetamine, methylphenidate, and modafinil, may be prescribed to treat hypersomnia.
Other drugs used to treat hypersomnia include clonidine, levodopa, bromocriptine, antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Changes in behavior (for example avoiding night work and social activities that delay bed time) and diet may offer some relief. Patients should avoid alcohol and caffeine.
Dosage of stimulants is based on individual need. Modafinil is given as a single morning dose of 200 or 400 mg, Methylphenidate 20 to 60 mg/day, ephedrine 25 mg, amphetamine 10 to 20 mg, dextroamphetamine 5 to 10 mg.
Imipramine 10 to 75 mg/day po is the drug of choice to treat cataplexy but should be taken only during the day to reduce nocturnal arousal. Hypersomnia patients taking both imipramine and stimulants risk developing hypertension and should be closely monitored.
If you are taking a medication that causes drowsiness, ask your doctor about changing the medication to one that is less likely to make you sleepy. You may also want to go to bed earlier to try to get more sleep at night, and eliminate alcohol and caffeine.
Hypersomnia Self care:
- Go to bed at a set time each night and get up at the same time each morning.
- Try to exercise 20 to 30 minutes a day. Daily exercise often helps people sleep, although a workout soon before bedtime may interfere with sleep. For maximum benefit, try to get your exercise about 4 to 5 hours before going to bed.
- Avoid drinks that contain caffeine, which acts as a stimulant and keeps people awake. Sources of caffeine include chocolate, coffee, soft drinks, non-herbal teas, diet drugs, and some pain relievers. Smokers tend to sleep very lightly and often wake up in the early morning due to nicotine withdrawal. Alcohol robs people of deep sleep and REM sleep and keeps them in the lighter stages of sleep.
- A warm bath, reading, or another relaxing routine can make it easier to fall sleep. Sleep until sunlight.
- Maintain a comfortable temperature in the bedroom. Extreme temperatures may disrupt sleep or prevent you from falling asleep.
- If you have trouble falling asleep night after night, or if you always feel tired the next day, then you may have a hypersomnia and should see a physician.