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Hypersomnia Causes

(Also Known As: Hipersomnia Causes, Insomnia Causes, Primary Hypersomnia Causes, Recurrent Hypersomnia Causes, Idiopathic Hypersomnia Causes, Prolonged Nighttime Sleep Causes, Kleine-Levin Syndrome Causes, Excessive Daytime Sleepiness Causes, EDS Causes, Apnea Causes, Sleep Problem Causes, Restless Leg Syndrome Causes)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What Causes Hypersomnia?

Hypersomnia can be caused by an assortment of causes which include hereditary factors and physiological disorders, such as clinical depression, uremia, fibromyalgia, and brain damage. In addition to the aforementioned, one pathologic disorder that may lead to the development of hypersomnia is infectious monucleosis (IM). According to Dr. Givan of the Riley Hospital, several cases of hypersomnia were ascertained to occur instantaneously following this disease.

There are also some instances where the cause or causes of hypersomnia cannot be verified. In these cases, hypersomnia is considered to be of the idiopathic type.

As much as it is a disorder on its own, hypersomnia may also be a symptom of other forms of sleep disorders; for instance, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and any dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. It may also arise as an effect of taking certain drugs, such as psychotropics, for the treatment of depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. In some cases it results from physical damages, such as a tumor, head trauma, or injury to the central nervous system. 2

Weight problems also pose a threat for people to acquire hypersomnia. The vicious cycle of excessive sleeping decreases metabolic energy consumption, making weight loss more difficult while it also provokes or initiates weight gain due to a tendency to attempt to manage low energy levels by eating non-complex carbohydrates, thus, aggravating the condition of obesity. The causes of hypersomnia remain unclear. There are even suppositions which ascribe it to cases involving the hypothalamus, although confirmations to prove it remain vague. Some people seem to have a genetic predisposition to hypersomnia, while in others, the cause remain idiopathic or undetermined. 3

Apart from the above mentioned there are also causes of daytime sleepiness that are not regarded as hypersomnia. Moreover, there are numerous diseases and disorders in which excessive daytime sleepiness is considered as a primary or secondary symptom. Occurrences of mild daytime sleepiness are usually related with the intake of certain substances like caffeine, alcohol, and some common medications, while factors leading to excessive daytime sleepiness that is not considered hypersomnia consist of working in night shifts and insomnia. Shift work upsets the body's natural sleep rhythms, whereas insomnia causes excessive daytime sleepiness because of lack of nighttime sleep, and is considered and discussed as a separate disorder. 4

Common Causes of Hypersomnia:

  • Predominantly Medical Causes of Hypersomnia or Excessive Sleep
    • Klein-Levine syndrome
    • Menstrual-associated somnolence
    • Metabolic or toxic conditions
    • Encephalitic conditions
    • Alcohol and depressant medications
    • Withdrawal from stimulants
  • Predominantly Psychiatric or Environmental Causes of Hypersomnia or Excessive Sleep
    • Depression (some)
    • Avoidance reactions
  • Predominantly Medical Causes of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
    • Narcolepsy and narcolepsy-like syndromes
    • Sleep apnea
    • Hypoventilation syndrome
    • Hyperthyroidism and other metabolic and toxic conditions
    • Alcohol and depressant medications
    • Withdrawal from stimulants
    • Sleep deprivation or insufficient sleep
    • Any condition producing serious insomnia
  • Predominantly Psychiatric or Environmental Causes of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
    • Depression (some Avoidance reactions Circadian rhythm sleep disorder 5

Could You Have Hypersomnia?

Hypersomnia Topics

Related Conditions

Dyssomnia – Difficulty Staying Asleep, Difficulty in Falling Asleep, Insomnia, Intermittent Wakefulness
Narcolepsy – Chronic Sleep Disorder, Sudden Attack of Sleep, Excessive Daytime Sleepiness, Falling Asleep at Inappropriate Times
Nightmare Disorder – Dream Anxiety Disorder, Nightmare, Sleep Disorder, Moaning, Frightening Dreams
Parasomnia NOS – Abnormal Movements, Emotions and Behaviors and Dreams While Sleeping, Somnambulism, Night Terror, Bruxism, Restless Leg Syndrome, Periodic Limb Movement Disorder
Primary Sleep Disorder – Hypersomnia, Insomnia, Narcolepsy, Breathing Related Sleep Disorder, Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder
Sleep Terror Disorder – Extreme Terror, Temporary Lack of Consciousness After Waking Up, Gasping, Moaning, Screaming
Sleepwalking Disorder – Somnambulism, Performing Actions as if Awake While Sleeping