What causes hypersomnia, how it manifests itself and what to do with increased sleepiness


A normal night sleep of a healthy person lasts from 5 to 12 hours, on average, 8 hours. A pathological condition occurs with a duration of sleep of 12 hours and above. It is very difficult to wake a person. During the day, he feels lethargy and fatigue, inability to concentrate. Performance decreases sharply. Hypersomnia may be repeated periodically or permanently present.

What causes hypersomnia?

Hypersomnia may be due to the following reasons:

  • regular sleep deprivation;
  • imbalance of neurotransmitters (congenital or acquired);
  • stress, involving psycho-emotional , exhaustion;
  • increased physical and mental stress;
  • tumors, organic, traumatic diseases of the brain;
  • chronic somatic and endocrine diseases;
  • infections, intoxication with drugs, ;
  • mental and neurological pathologies;
  • starvation;
  • some medications that affect brain function;
  • sleep apnea syndrome includes sleep disturbances, with intermittent breathing stops for 10 seconds or more. It is characterized by snoring, superficial night sleep, daytime sleepiness, reduced performance.

Kinds of frustration

The frequency of manifestations of hypersomnia is constant (permanent) and episodic (paroxysmal).

Depending on the etiological factor, idiopathic, hysterical, post-traumatic, lethargic, drug, iatrogenic, psychopathic hypersomnia occurs:

  1. Idiopathic (psychophysiological) – occurs on the background of chronic stress, lack of sleep in healthy people 15-30 years. May be accompanied by signs of ambulatory automatism (involuntary continuation of some actions, wandering, followed by amnesia) lasting several seconds. Daytime sleep alleviates the condition, but the person does not feel sleepy and awake.
  2. Hysterical – the result of psychotrauma. It is impossible to wake a person. The reaction to the light is saved, the patient resists a violent attempt to open his eyes. The sensitivity of the skin is reduced, muscle tone is increased, the pressure is normal. Often accompanied by palpitations, increased sweating of the limbs. On the electroencephalogram (EEG) – signs of wakefulness.
  3. Lethargic – develops suddenly or against a background of lethargic encephalitis, lesions of the reticular formation of the brain. Lethargic sleep lasts at least a day. There are cases of lethargy, continuing for decades. It is characterized by a slowdown in metabolism, a weakening of the reaction to light, sound, and touch. Externally, a person is in a state of deep sleep. The picture may resemble imaginary death: the skin is pale, cold, pupillary reaction to light is absent, the pulse is not palpable. A person does not eat, does not drink, and feces do not discharge. People with lethargy are often buried alive.
  4. Iatrogenic – occurs after consuming some drugs.
  5. Psychopathic – develops on the background of mental disorders.
  6. Post-traumatic – on the background of brain injuries.
  7. Drug – after taking medication with a sedative effect.

Hypersomnia Syndromes

By clinical features distinguish:

What causes hypersomnia, how it manifests itself and what to do with increased sleepiness

  1. Narcolepsy – paroxysmal course of the disorder, the patient can not overcome the desire to fall asleep, does it in any place, at any time (during classes, at work, in a shop, cafe). The man does not even have time to take a comfortable position for sleep. Gradually, the patient can feel the onset of attack and prepare: choose the appropriate place and posture. The condition is often accompanied by hallucinations during sleep and awakening. Characterized by catalepsy – the patient can not move within a few minutes after waking up as a result of a sharp hypotoneus muscles.
  2. Pickwick syndrome is a combination of daytime hypersomnia, obesity, and respiratory disorders. After a night’s sleep, the person feels overwhelmed, complains of a headache.
  3. Kleine-Levin syndrome – bulimia joins hypersomnia (the patient eats up everything in large quantities indiscriminately before or during an attack). Characteristic for young people. Before attacks of drowsiness, psomotor agitation, insomnia is observed. The duration of one attack may last for several weeks. Independent awakening is accompanied by confusion, forced – by aggression.
  4. The syndrome of hypersomnia and sleepy intoxication – is characterized by confusion after waking up for 15 minutes. – 2 hours. During the day there is increased sleepiness.


The treatment of hypersomnia aims to eliminate the etiological factor (pathogenetic therapy), signs of the disease (symptomatic therapy), prevent the recurrence of seizures, the development of complications.

Read also … Acupuncture and acupressure therapy for insomnia

Apply medical, psychotherapy, treatment of folk remedies. Of great importance is the correct mode of the day.

Drug therapy includes:

  • drugs that restore the balance of neurotransmitters;
  • correction of somatic, endocrine, neuropsychiatric, oncological diseases;
  • detoxification therapy in the hospital with intoxication;
  • antibiotic treatment in case of infections;
  • nootropic drugs – to improve the performance of the brain in organic pathologies;
  • agents that soothe the in psychogenias in etiology;
  • psychostimulants to eliminate daytime sleepiness;
  • antidepressants for symptoms of catalepsy;
  • vitamin therapy and immunostimulants in order to strengthen the body.

In case of medicinal and iatrogenic forms, the dosages of the drugs that caused the hypersomnia are adjusted.

It must be remembered that the use of medicines should occur only under medical supervision! Doses are prescribed strictly individually depending on the condition, age of the patient, the duration and frequency of hypersomnia, the presence of concomitant diseases.

Non-drug treatment

How to treat hypersomnia without medication? Since psychotrauma is the leading trigger in the etiology of the disease, psychotherapy is an important role in the treatment, aimed at training:

  • stress management;
  • managing emotions;
  • constructive problem solving;
  • conflict-free communication;
  • stress relief through music, painting, dancing, sculpting, sand lessons (art, sand therapy).

Traditional medicine is used in addition to medicines. These are infusions and decoctions on a plant basis, possessing a sedative (with nervous tension) or tonic (with constant daytime sleepiness) action.

What to do with hypersomnia?

Treatment of hypersomnia at home will not be complete without strict adherence to the daily regimen. It is necessary:

  1. Distribute sleep and wakefulness – sleep no more than 9 hours at night, try to allocate time for daytime sleep (no more than an hour). Lie down and wake up at the same time.
  2. Abandon evening and night work.
  3. 2 hours before bedtime, do not use a mobile phone, computer, or watch TV.
  4. Before going to bed, take a daily walk in the fresh air.
  5. Do not eat 2 hours before bedtime. The last meal should be easily digestible, low-calorie.
  6. Do not abuse alcohol and .
  7. Avoid stressful situations.
  8. It is enough to move, play sports, do exercises, but not overwork.
  9. Regularly undergo medical examinations, timely treat chronic pathologies.


Hypersomnia is not a sentence. Its symptoms can be completely eliminated, strictly adhering to the recommendations of the doctor, observing the sleep and wakefulness.

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