How To Treat Hypersomnia

Hypersomnia is a somewhat rare sleeping disorder that causes an individual to have difficulties with staying awake during the day. When someone suffers from hypersomnia, they will usually be excessively tired during the day or will sleep much longer than normal throughout the day. It's important to understand this sleeping disorder can be very dangerous since patients can fall asleep at practically any time, which includes when they're working or even when driving. Patients might also suffer from other problems related to the disorder such as low amounts of energy and not being able to think clearly. This type of sleep disorder can be caused by everything from being overweight to other sleep disorders like sleep apnea and narcolepsy. Given that it's possible to fall asleep at any time during the day without forewarning, it's highly recommended to get hypersomnia treated as quickly as possible.

Stimulant Medication

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The most common medications prescribed to individuals suffering from hypersomnia are stimulant medications, which mainly include ones like modafinil and methylphenidate. Modafinil is directly designed to reduce extreme amounts of sleepiness caused by hypersomnia and similar sleep disorders. Since patients will be having difficulties staying awake throughout the day, this type of medication can also help them stay awake during school or work hours.

Even though modafinil has proven to be effective for hypersomnia, it's not exactly known why it works the way it does. Some research has indicated the medication is able to affect specific substances within the brain that control the wake and sleep cycle. As for methylphenidate, this medication is able to increase the patient's ability to stay focused and pay attention, which should help patients stay awake throughout the day. There is a range of side effects associated with these medications patients should keep in mind before taking them. For instance, the main side effects of modafinil include nervousness, headaches, dizziness, and nausea. The side effects of methylphenidate are similar. It's important to understand stimulant medications are only able to help patients manage the symptoms associated with hypersomnia, which means they won't be able to cure their sleeping disorder.

Antidepressants

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Patients might also think about taking some antidepressants for hypersomnia. While these medications are typically designed to treat depression, they are also effective at helping patients manage their sleeping disorders like hypersomnia. The types of antidepressants most commonly used for treating hypersomnia include those of fluoxetine, sertraline, citalopram, and paroxetine. While each of these medications operates slightly differently when consumed, they all work on combating depression by improving an individual's sleep and energy levels. These medications work by restoring the balance of serotonin in the brain, a natural chemical that contributes to feelings of happiness and well-being. Serotonin controls and modulates such processes in the brain as memory, cognition, reward, and learning processes. When this chemical is at the proper levels, an individual's sleep should be more balanced. These medications are typically designed to be taken on a daily basis. Once a patient's energy levels have started to improve, they should have fewer difficulties in staying awake.

Get More Sleep At Night

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While it might seem obvious, among the most effective ways to treat hypersomnia is simply to get more sleep at night. When an individual is suffering from hypersomnia, it will be much easier for them to fall asleep during the day than is normal. While they won't be able to completely eliminate these issues, getting a high amount of sleep each night should help minimize the problems caused by this condition. It's recommended for hypersomnia patients to obtain anywhere from eight to ten hours of sleep each night. If they do so, the drowsiness they experience during the day may be able to reduce enough so only a short nap is needed. Even though it can be difficult for an affected individual to go to bed earlier than they normally do, their body will eventually adjust after a couple of weeks.

Reducing Consumption Of Caffeine

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Many individuals who suffer from hypersomnia believe drinking coffee and other caffeinated beverages will help them stay awake during the day. While it's true patients may be able to combat some of their drowsiness with caffeine, reducing consumption of caffeine is heavily recommended to avoid worsening hypersomnia. Research and studies performed pertaining to the effects of caffeine have found this substance can actually delay the general timing of an individual's body clock, which can adversely affect their sleep patterns. It's also essential to not drink caffeine in the few hours before going to bed. Doing so can cause a wide range of problems with an individual's sleep schedule that can be difficult to quickly recover from. Once an individual's sleep schedule is off balance, it can take days or even weeks to get it back to normal. Individuals should keep in mind it takes anywhere from three to five hours for just half of the caffeine they consumed to move through their body.

Switching Medications Causing Drowsiness

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If an individual affected by hypersomnia is currently taking any medications, it's possible one of them is exacerbating their symptoms. Sleeping pills aren't the only medications that can cause an individual to become drowsy, which is why they'll want to be on the lookout for this problem. If a medication is causing individuals to feel tired, this issue likely develops because the medication they're taking is affecting the neurotransmitters in their brain that control how sleepy or awake they feel. Some of the various types of medications that can make patients feel drowsy include anxiety medications, antidepressant medications, gut medications, muscle relaxants, and blood pressure medications. Patients should make sure to ask their doctor about switching medications causing drowsiness to help relieve their symptoms.


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HealthPrep Staff