Sunday, March 4, 2012

Idiopathic hypersomnia and sleep apnea

Surprisingly enough not all sleep disorders are derived from sleeping too little.  Sleep apnea, caused by blockage in the back of the throat, results in getting very little sleep if any and insomnia, which is the most common of sleep disorders, prevents you from getting any rest.  30 to 40 percent of all adults have some sort of insomnia during the year.  But there are those that have just the opposite problem, they sleep too much. If you have problems sleeping you probably don’t think that would be much of a problem but it is. Idiopathic hypersomnia is where you are sleeping excessively without a cause.
One sleep disorder that also causes you to fall asleep at any time or anywhere is narcolepsy. However with idiopathic hypersomnia it can be just as difficult to fight off daytime sleepiness as it is with narcolepsy. Another distinction is that with hypersomnia night time sleep isn’t interrupted unlike narcolepsy. According to the National Library of Medicine someone with this type of disorder can sleep between 14 and 18 hours a night. Even a nap during the day doesn’t necessarily help.
Since the name of the disorder has the word “idiopathic” in it you can probably guess that what causes this sleep problem are unknown. Treatments vary from changing your sleep routines to medications, check with your doctor to see what options you may have.
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  1. Hi David, I have just completed my first polysomnography and MSLT's on Monday 12th March 2012. I have been diagnosed with Idiopathic Hypersomnia. I did not display the correct criteria for Narcolepsy and had no signs of sleep apnea, however i slept for 9 hours overnight and then fell asleep during the 4 nap tests within the range to diagnose IH.
    I somewhat disagree with your comment that people with IH can fight off the sleepiness during the day. I will feel tired, without excessive yawning. I have a feeling of extreme heaviness to my whole body and no matter what i do to try to alleviate it (caffeine, fresh air, loud music, walking), the moment i am back at my desk it overcomes me again. I therefore cannot continue to work until i have had a nap. I have also fallen asleep whilst driving with no warning of tiredness.
    I am awaiting the report from my consultant to reach my GP so that i can discuss the possibility of Modifinil being prescribed.
    Have you had difficulty getting your loved ones to understand all this? My families response was "so your tired, we know that".

  2. Hi Katie,
    thanks for commenting, I can imagine that it would be difficult if not impossible to fight off daytime sleepiness. I'll change the post to reflect your comment.
    I have been lucky that my family has been really understanding through out all the years of sleep apnea. It is really a shame that folks just don't get destructive and draining your life can be without much sleep.
    thanks for commenting
    stay in touch