Idiopathic hypersomnia
idiopathic hypersomnia

Idiopathic hypersomnia

Idiopathic hypersomnia is a disorder of excessive sleepiness. People with idiopathic hypersomnia typically have long, abnormally refreshing naps that are unrefreshing at night.

Symptoms usually start in adolescence or young adulthood and can include apathy or lack of motivation to do anything. Other symptoms may include depression, low energy levels, loss of appetite, weight loss, and fainting.

What is idiopathic hypersomnia?

Even after a good or longer night’s sleep, idiopathic hypersomnia (IH) might cause you to feel excessive sleepiness during the day. Having trouble waking up after being asleep at night or during a nap is another symptom of this condition. Daytime naps aren’t particularly refreshing, in most cases.

Idiopathic hypersomnia is a neurological sleep disorder characterized by the inability to sleep at any time of day or night, especially when driving a car or working, which makes it potentially dangerous. A person who suffers from the disorder will have an uncontrollable desire for sleep. even during inappropriate times.

Typically, the illness develops over a period of weeks to months. In order to diagnose idiopathic hypersomnia, it is necessary to rule out more common sleep disorders. The goal of treatment is to keep symptoms under control using medication.


Of the symptoms of idiopathic hypersomnia, excessive daytime drowsiness is the main one. Other symptoms include sleeping 9-11 hours or more out of every 24 hours, trouble getting out of bed in the morning or waking up after naps, getting sleep inertia, often known as “sleep drunkenness,” which causes you to feel foggy and make it difficult to work.

If you have difficulty carrying out typical daily activities when you do not feel rested after a good night’s sleep or a few daytime naps, or if you are suffering from brain fog and headaches.

Causes of idiopathic hypersomnia

Some persons who have Idiopathic hypersomnia IH also have a family member with a medical history of the same problem or who has another sleep disorder such as narcolepsy and have difficulty waking, which can complicate the situation. People who suffer from narcolepsy frequently fall asleep at any time, anywhere, and without notice.

Some research has looked into the potential that neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin may play a role in this process. They aid in the regulation of mood and happiness.

People who suffer from IH may also have low amounts of the brain chemical histamine, which is released by the immune system in order to combat potentially hazardous chemicals. Histamine is also responsible for many of the symptoms associated with allergies.

IH can also occur as a result of an infection, brain injury, or psychological problems such as anxiety or depression. IH may also be triggered by a sleep schedule that is inconsistent, medications that are intended to make you fall asleep or to keep you awake, and other sleep disorders.

Related diseases

 Idiopathic hypersomnia also called narcolepsy without cataplexy, is a disorder of the central nervous system in which an individual always feels sleepy or drowsy with excessive sleepiness that cannot be attributed to specific sleep-wake schedule problems. It always occurs along with other neuropsychiatric symptoms such as cataplexy, sleep paralysis, hypnagogic hallucinations, and disrupted nighttime sleep.

Diagnosis of idiopathic hypersomnia


Idiopathic hypersomnia is diagnosed via a sleep study. In order to determine whether or not you have IH, your doctor will perform several tests and interview you about your family and medical history. They’ll go over your symptoms with you and inquire about any drugs you’re currently taking.

Your doctor may ask you to complete a drowsiness scale to indicate how much your tiredness interferes with your daily activities. They may recommend that you start a sleep diary to keep track of how much sleep you are getting each night.

They may also invite you to participate in a number of tests, including a polysomnogram. Over the course of the night at a sleep lab, this sleep test will measure your brain activity as well as your heart rate, breathing, eye and leg movements, and oxygen levels.

Multiple sleep latency tests are performed. This keeps track of how quickly you fall asleep for a nap during the day. This test is performed the day following a polysomnogram.

A diagnosis of IH is normally considered if you have experienced significant daytime sleepiness for at least 3 months and if the severity of the sleepiness is interfering with your ability to carry out your everyday activities.

Treatment options

sleep diary

The goal of treatment for IH is to alleviate symptoms as much as possible. The use of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium oxybat are sleep medicine used to treat IH in adults has been approved. It is thought to function through the action of substances such as dopamine and the brain pathways involved in wakefulness.

Doctors may also give drugs that are similar to those that are used in narcolepsy treatment. This consists of non-stimulant wake-promoting sleep medicine like dextroamphetamine, methamphetamine, and methylphenidate. Stimulants such as dextroamphetamine and methamphetamine can also be tried. A number of drugs, such as nuvigil and provigil, pitolisant and solriamfetol, as well as Sodium oxybate, are medications used to treat excessive sleepiness.

Your doctor may advise you to undergo Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), which is a technique for learning to deal with unwanted thoughts. You will be asked to maintain a regular wake-and-sleep pattern, and you should refrain from driving or engaging in any activity that could be risky if you are sleepy.

Despite the fact that there is no cure or treatment for IH, symptoms can sometimes subside on their own and you can go back to your normal daily activities.


Excessive sleep is what hypersomnia is defined as. Patients with idiopathic hypersomnia sleep a respectable amount at night (at least six hours), but they have difficulties getting up and feel excessively sleepy, which is a condition known as chronic hypersomnia. In addition to extreme daytime sleepiness, patients suffering from idiopathic hypersomnia may experience symptoms such as sleeping for 10 hours or more or have sleep drunkenness, which is characterized by symptoms such as excessive sleep inertia, difficulties waking up with alarm clocks, feeling foggy, and do not wake up feeling refreshed.

Treatment for hypersomnia is very individualized, depending on your symptoms and severity. Among the treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy, medications, and treating other existing sleep disorders.

Frequently asked questions

What is the cause of idiopathic hypersomnia?

There are several possible causes of excessive drowsiness, including a brain disorder with no known etiology. Some persons with idiopathic hypersomnia, for example, have low amounts of brain chemical histamine in their blood. Low-grade unknown infections (which begin after a flu-like illness) or brain damage are possible complications.

How do you know if you have idiopathic hypersomnia?

Even after a good or longer night’s sleep, idiopathic hypersomnia might cause you to feel abnormally drowsy during the day. Having trouble waking up after being asleep at night or during a nap is another symptom of this condition, which occurs frequently. Naps are not often considered to be refreshing.

Can idiopathic hypersomnia go away?

Idiopathic hypersomnia (IH) is a neurological condition that affects a small percentage of the population. Treatment can be beneficial, but there is currently no cure.

What is the difference between hypersomnia and idiopathic hypersomnia?

Hypersomnia is a term used to describe excessive daytime sleepiness in a person’s daily activities. Narcolepsy, a sleep disorder, is thought to be the cause of hypersomnia in some people. In medicine, the phrase “idiopathic” refers to a disorder for which there is no clearly identified cause. Because of this, people who have IH feel excessive daytime sleepiness for no apparent reason during the daytime.

What causes hypersomnia?

Obesity, obstructive sleep apnea, delayed sleep phase syndrome, multiple system atrophy, myotonic dystrophy, and other hereditary illnesses can induce hypersomnia. Head trauma, tumors, and CNS illnesses can cause hypersomnia.

Antihypertensive pharmaceuticals, anti-epileptic drugs, anti-parkinsonian agents, skeletal muscle relaxants, antipsychotics, opiates, cannabis, and alcohol can cause hypersomnia. Withdrawal from stimulants can cause hypersomnia.

You may have hypersomnia if you don’t go to bed and get seven to nine hours of sleep (for adults). Maybe you’re not getting enough quality sleep because you’re not avoiding activity and coffee before bedtime.


  1. What Is Idiopathic Hypersomnia? (
  2. Idiopathic hypersomnia – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic
  3. The Mystery Behind Idiopathic Hypersomnia (
  4. Hypersomnia vs. Narcolepsy: Symptoms Chart, Causes, and Treatments (
  5. Idiopathic Insomnia | American Sleep Association
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