Sleep is vital to our body, because it allows it to rest and recharge the batteries. To deal with the stress and modern lifestyle, many people suffer from sleep disorders such as insomnia or hypersomnia. The latter is much less known. So let’s examine the causes, symptoms and consequences of hypersomnia.
What is hypersomnia?
Hypersomnia is defined as drowsiness or very sleepy condition during the day and difficulty of waking up in the morning, even after a good night’s sleep.
Hypersomniac person usually sleeps more than 10 hours a night and often needs to take naps. Note that these extended sleep periods are however not restorative.
There are different types of hypersomnia:
- Hypersomnia due to drugs is very common in people who smoke marijuana, drink a lot of alcohol or take sedatives.
- Hypersomnia related to a mental disorder usually occurs in bipolar people or those suffering from severe depression.
- Idiopathic hypersomnia often affects young people (men and women) less than 30 years old. It can persist for years or disappear with age.
Causes of hypersomnia
Hypersomnia may simply be due to a poor night’s sleep, lack of sleep in general or environmental causes (time zone difference, snoring of the spouse, etc.), as it may be associated with other factors, including:
- Bipolar disorder
- Taking certain medications (antidepressants, tranquilizers …)
- Certain medical conditions: brain tumor, hypothyroidism, head injury, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome …
- Pregnancy, often during the first quarter
Hypersomnia, what are the consequences?
Hypersomnia is a sleep disorder that affects the life of the sufferer. It affects nearly 10% of Americans and can have different repercussions on the personal and professional level. Indeed, hypersomniac person is tired all the time, may have mood disorders, suffer from cognitive impairment and lack of alertness or concentration at work or at school, but also behind the wheel. Drowsiness is also responsible for 20% of road accidents in US.
Moreover, hypersomnia may also have health implications:
People who sleep more than necessary often complain of headaches. According to scientists, this can be explained by the fact that hypersomnia is capable of disrupting the balance of neurotransmitters, including serotonin, which has the effect of causing headaches.
Obesity and diabetes
According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the United States, hypersomnia is linked to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, on the same scale as those linked to insomnia. Too short or too long sleep is also associated with obesity.
A lot of sleep is also associated with cardiovascular problems. According to a search based on information from the Nurses’ Health Study, conducted on 71,000 women, a long sleep can increase the risk of coronary heart disease, while too little sleeping is linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
Hypersomniacs people may be prone to depression over time. This sleep disorder also affects their mood, because they don’t really enjoy their life! Also note that depressed people can suffer from hypersomnia.
How to overcome sleepiness?
The first step in treating hypersomnia is to have good sleep hygiene. Remember that the recommended hours of sleep varies greatly depending on age, but in general the optimal sleep time for adults is between 7 and 9 hours a night. Less than 7 hours per night is considered a lack of sleep, while more than 9 or 10 hours may be a case of hypersomnia.
It is therefore very important to sleep sufficient hours each night, but also to go to bed and wake up at the same time.
It is also advised to:
- Avoid the use of drugs and alcohol
- Practice sports
- Create the right environment to get enough sleep
- Have a healthy diet to avoid weight gain
- Take a cool shower if you are sleepy