Sleep Disorder (Hypersomnolence)

Hypersomnolence Disorder

what is Hypersomnolence Disorder 

Many people find themselves sleep-deprived or excessively tired at various times in their lives. On the other hand, a person with hypersomnolence can feel the need to sleep even after they have slept well for the recommended number of hours.

Hyper somnolence can be problematic because it affects a person’s abilities at work and school. It can also affect their safety while driving and can be an indicator of an underlying medical disorder.

Left untreated, hypersomnolence can impact a person’s quality of life.


Share on PinterestSymptoms of hypersomnolence include struggling to wake up, falling asleep at random times, and constantly feeling tired.

In people with hypersomnolence, excessive sleepiness is not due to another underlying medical disorder or medication.

The primary symptom of hypersomnolence is excessive sleepiness, even though a person is getting 7 hours of sleep a night. Other symptoms include:

  • falling asleep several times during the day
  • taking naps to combat the sleepiness but not waking up refreshed
  • sleeping more than 9 hours but not feeling rested
  • having difficulty waking up from sleep
  • feeling confused or combative while trying to wake up

Excessive sleeping may cause problems at work, school, or for other daily activities.

Hypersomnolence has three categories: acute, sub-acute, and persistent.

  • Acute Hypersomnolence, lasting 1 month or less
  • Subacute Hypersomnolence, lasting 1 to 3 months
  • Persistent Hypersomnolence, lasting more than 3 months

Hypersomnolence is similar to another sleep disorder known as narcolepsy in that people experience episodes of sleepiness during the day.

However, people with narcolepsy often describe episodes of sleepiness as sudden sleep “attacks.” In contrast, hypersomnolence episodes tend to come on gradually.


Researchers are still working to identify what interactions in the brain cause hypersomnolance. It is possible that people have an increase in brain chamicals  that are known to cause sleepiness. This increase can act much like a sleeping pill.

Although researchers have not yet identified the specific substance or molecule that may be involved in hypersomnolence, they believe it interacts with a substance called y-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is responsible for promoting sleep in the brain. Sedative medications used in surgery work on the same GABA substance to keep a person asleep during surgery.

Risk factors for a person developing hypersomnolence include:

  • stress
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • previous history of viral infection
  • previous history of head trauma
  • family history of hypersomnolence
  • medical history of depression, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer's  disease, or Parkinson's disease.

While these are known risk factors and potential contributors to the condition, some people may have hypersomnolence for no known reason.

Diagnosis Criteria

A). self-reported excessive sleepiness (hyper somnolence) despite a main sleep period lasting at least 7 hours, with at least one of the following symptoms:

  1. Recurrent period of sleep or lapses in to sleep within the same day.
  2. A prolonged main sleep episode of more than 9 hours per day that is nonrestrictive

 (i.e., unrefreshing).  

  1. Difficulty being fully awake after abrupt awakening.

B). the hyper somnolence occurs at least three times per week, for at least 3 month.

C). the hyper somnolence is accompanied by significant distress or impairment in cognitive, social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

D). the hyper somnolence is not better explained by and does not occur exclusively during the courses of another sleep disorder (e.g., narcolepsy, breathing-related sleep disorder, circadian, rhythm sleep-awake disorder, or a parasomnia).

E). the hyper somnolence is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a, medication).

C). Coexisting mental and medical disorders do not adequately explain the predominant complaint of hyper somnolence.


Book DSM-5,

 Google medical news today.