Idiopathic Hypersomnia - Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment | Sleep Clinic Services

You are here

Idiopathic Hypersomnia - Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment


If you feel sleepy all the time even though you always get a great night’s sleep, you may have Idiopathic Hypersomnia.

Ever had one of those days when no matter how much coffee you drink you just feel like taking a nap? Or, even though you slept like a baby the night before you still feel really tired? We’ve all been there. But, for some people, daytime sleepiness happens every day.

Idiopathic Hypersomnia is a neurological sleep disorder known as a Central Disorder of Hypersomnolence. Basically, it means you get a lot of sleep and you still have daytime sleepiness.

So, no matter how much sleep you get, you always feel tired during the day. Not only that but the quality of sleep you get is really good. And, you don't wake up much during the night.

So, how do you know if you have it?

Symptoms of Idiopathic Hypersomnia

If you always feel tired even though you get at least 8-10 hours sleep each night, you may have Idiopathic Hypersomnia.

Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty waking up followed by confusion, disorientation, irritability and poor coordination,
  • Wanting to go back to sleep after waking to the point where it seems uncontrollable,
  • Doing things without realising it and not remembering you have done them. For example, your alarm clock goes off and you turn it off. Then, when you wake up later, you don’t remember turning it off in the first place,
  • Memory problems,
  • Finding it hard to concentrate,
  • Short attention span,
  • Daytime naps that still leave you feeling sleepy,
  • Feeling like you need to sleep during the day. This feeling may hit at any time. For example, while at work, during a meal or half way through a conversation,
  • Sleeping for long periods of time. Up to 10-18 hours a day,
  • Anxiety,
  • Low energy,
  • Restlessness, or
  • Loss of appetite.

Be aware, these symptoms are similar to other sleep disorders. Daytime sleepiness may not be Idiopathic Hypersomnia. If you are having trouble sleeping at night you may be suffering from a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea.

What Causes Idiopathic Hypersomnia

The cause of Idiopathic Hypersomnia is still unknown. In fact, the meaning of the word Idiopathic is "of unknown cause." Research is still being undertaken into the origins and causes of Idiopathic Hypersomnia.

idiopathic-hypersomnia-diagnosisIdiopathic Hypersomnia Diagnosis

If you think you may have Idiopathic Hypersomnia, it’s important to see your doctor.

It can be difficult to diagnose. That’s because symptoms such as feeling sleepy during the day can also be caused by sleep disorders like sleep apnea.

Idiopathic Hypersomnia is also similar to narcolepsy. In both disorders, you feel very sleepy.

However, Idiopathic Hypersomnia is different from narcolepsy because it doesn't involve suddenly falling asleep (sleep attacks) or losing muscle control due to strong emotions (cataplexy). Also, if you have Idiopathic Hypersomnia you won’t feel refreshed after a nap.

Your doctor may rule out other causes by conducting physical, medical tests or asking you about your medical history. You may have a sleep study using a Polysomnography (PSG). And a Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT). These tests help to rule out other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.

What To Do If You Think You Have Idiopathic Hypersomnia

Sleeping well is so important for your health and wellbeing as well as the safety of others. If you have Idiopathic Hypersomnia then you’re already getting a great night’s sleep. However, it shouldn’t be left untreated. That’s because of how tired you feel during the day. Feeling tired while driving or operating heavy machinery is dangerous.

If you think you may have Idiopathic Hypersomnia, here’s what to do:

  • See your doctor. Your doctor will rule out other sleep disorders, make a diagnosis and advise you on treatment,
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule,
  • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and other stimulants,
  • Practice good sleep hygiene,
  • Talk to your family, friends, and co-workers for support. That way, they’ll know what to expect and how to help you.

And remember, Idiopathic Hypersomnia has very similar symptoms as sleep disorders like sleep apnea. It’s important to make sure you’re not confusing the two.

If you think you or someone you know may suffer from sleep apnea or Sleep Disordered Breathing, contact us now for an obligation free chat on 1300 246 637 (or submit a confidential email using the form below). The ill-health consequences of untreated sleep apnea can have a dire impact on your health and well-being. And, treatment is so easy. Call us today. 



Contact Us

Need a sleep study? Have a question?

Contact us:

One last step. Please enter the code in the field below proving you're not a spam robot. Thank you!
Enter the characters shown in the image.