Hypersomnia, which is commonly characterized by extreme daytime sleepiness, is a serious medical condition that can lead to impaired physical and mental health. Patients complain about extreme lethargy and not feeling rested regardless of how many hours of sleep they get. While relatively uncommon—it only affects 4 to 6% of the population—extreme sleepiness can lead to accidents, be it at work or on the road.

If you find yourself dozing off uncontrollably during the day regardless of how many hours you’ve slept or the nature of the task you’re doing, then you might have hypersomnia. In this case, it’s best to contact the office of a doctor specializing in treating sleep disorders, such as our sleep center in Jacksonville.

There are a number of ways to treat hypersomnia. However, before going for any treatment, it’s best to have a better grasp of the condition to see if your symptoms fit the bill. Here are three things about hypersomnia that you need to know.

1. There Are Two Kinds of Hypersomnia

You may have either one of two kinds of hypersomnia: (1) Primary Hypersomnia and (2) Secondary Idiopathic Hypersomnia.

Despite differences in the name, both kinds are “idiopathic,” meaning that the exact cause is unknown. However, if you are diagnosed with primary hypersomnia, it means that your physician has not been able to identify other medical conditions that may have caused the disorder. On the other hand, secondary idiopathic hypersomnia is usually accompanied and aggravated by other medical problems, including but not limited to:

  • Neurodegenerative diseases, e.g. Parkinson’s Disease
  • Neuromuscular disorders, e.g. Myotonic Dystrophy
  • Medication
  • Insufficient Sleep Syndrome

2. Sleep Apnea Can Lead to Hypersomnia

Sleep apnea is another serious sleep disorder characterized by loud snoring and having difficulty in breathing while still asleep. Sleep apnea can be caused by an obstructed airway (Obstructive Sleep Apnea), the failure of the brain to transmit signals that control breathing during sleep (Central Sleep Apnea), or a combination of both (Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome).

It’s common for patients with this disorder to feel tired even after a full night’s sleep, which links it to hypersomnia. This is because the main consequence of having sleep apnea is the inability to sustain normal breathing during sleep, which often results in sleep deprivation and fatigue.

3. Hypersomnia Can Be Treated

Since hypersomnia is largely idiopathic, there isn’t one particular method of treating the condition. Rather, your physician will base his or her recommendations on the conditions that may be leading to you develop hypersomnia.

Treatments can be as simple as adopting a healthy sleep routine or a diet change. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, then the doctor may choose to treat that first using Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine therapy and see if it improves your quality of sleep.

Getting Treated for Hypersomnia

The importance of sleep to the human body cannot be overstated. Sleep restores cognition, allows for muscle repair, and even helps lower risk of heart disease. Sleep deprivation, on the other hand, weakens the immune system, results in forgetfulness, and puts you at risk for high blood pressure and diabetes, among others. The important thing to remember is that while hypersomnia is difficult to live with, it can be treated.

If you or anybody you know is exhibiting any sign of hypersomnia, it’s best to seek help from a sleep doctor near you immediately. This is important, especially for people who work with heavy machinery and people who drive daily, where hypersomnia can lead to an increased risk of accidents.

Seek Help from a Sleep Doctor in Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville Sleep Center is the only sleep facility in North Florida with a board-certified sleep physician dedicated solely to helping patients improve their quality of life through a better night’s sleep. Our patients get our undivided attention and the latest options for diagnosis and treatment. To schedule your appointment with our Dream Team, contact us today.