Idiopathic hypersomnia (IH) brings daily challenges and frustrations. You may struggle with activities that others take for granted, such as working, driving, and watching television. Even spending time with family and friends can be difficult when you’re constantly fighting to stay awake.
IH can be a debilitating condition characterized by excessive sleepiness even after a full night’s rest or after daytime naps. If you have IH, you may experience an uncontrollable need to sleep at any time, regardless of the amount of sleep you have gotten recently. Symptoms of IH often begin during adolescence and young adulthood, typically developing over a period of weeks or months. There is no known cause of this chronic condition.
Common signs and symptoms of IH include:
If you experience symptoms of IH, you should talk to your doctor about possibly having a sleep test. Your doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist for evaluation and diagnosis. Your doctor or a sleep specialist will likely discuss your symptoms with you and ask about your medical history and any family history of sleep-related issues. You may also be asked to:
With no known cause, IH treatment often focuses on trying to relieve symptoms, particularly daytime sleepiness. Stimulant medication may be prescribed to help you stay awake during the day. Non-medical approaches, such as lifestyle changes, are far less likely to help.