Idiopathic hypersomnia

Article section 1 of 16.  Next

By Marcel Hungs MD PhD

Idiopathic hypersomnia is also known as or subsumes Essential narcolepsy and Non-rapid eye movement narcolepsy. -ed.

Idiopathic hypersomnia, often mistaken as narcolepsy, is a common cause of excessive daytime sleepiness. Excessive daytime sleepiness has a significant negative impact on quality of life. Although all the exact details are as yet unknown regarding this disorder of central nervous system sleep and wake state controls, it is a fascinating source of investigation to assist in decoding the mystery of how the brain modulates the sleep and wakefulness states. A customized treatment plan with lifestyle changes and stimulant therapy can improve excessive daytime sleepiness.

Key Points

  • The main symptom of idiopathic hypersomnia with long sleep time is constant daytime sleepiness, with night sleep typically longer than 10 hours of sleep, feeling of drunkenness, hypnagogic hallucinations, and sleep paralysis.
  • In idiopathic hypersomnia without long sleep time, the major sleep episode is less than 10 hours in duration.
  • Idiopathic hypersomnia is associated with dysautonomia: orthostatic hypotension, syncope, headache, and Raynaud-type phenomena.
  • The diagnosis of idiopathic hypersomnia is mainly based on clinical features, with the additional use of polysomnography and the Multiple Sleep Latency Test.
  • The differential diagnosis includes other conditions of excessive daytime sleepiness such as narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.
  • Treatment of idiopathic hypersomnia includes stimulants and wake-promoting agents.