When unexplained, excessive sleepiness persists for weeks or months, or fatigue is so over-whelming that it’s hard to carry out daily activities, it may be a sign that you have a sleep disorder.
According to Maqbool Arshad, MD, Medical director of the Aurora Sleep Disorder Treatment Center at West Allis Memorial Hospital, “Several medical conditions can affect a person’s ability to feel well rested, even after a full night’s sleep. “Sleep Apnea, for example, leads to poor quality sleep throughout the night. This potentially serious condition causes a person to stop breathing anywhere from 10 seconds up to several minutes. Sleep deprivation–not getting enough rest–and insomnia, which includes trouble falling asleep as well as trouble staying asleep, are certain to make one feel groggy during daytime hours. With narcolepsy, another common sleep disorder, people experience irresistible urges to sleep during the day.
Idiopathic hyper-somnolence, or “unexplained, excessive day-time sleepiness,” is similar to narcolepsy, says Dr. Arshad.” With narcolepsy, however, a person feels refreshed after a nap. With idiopathic hyper-somnolence, a person never feels rested.” Other symptoms of this condition include blank stares and one minute naps, seemingly without personal awareness.
The affected individual also may perform automatic behaviors with an unusual twist–sprinkling salt on their arm, for example, or loading dirty clothes into the dryer. Physiological signs of the disorder may include cold hands and feet, frequent dull headaches or migraines.
The cause of idiopathic hyper-somnolence is not exactly known, but studies have linked cases to viral infections, such as pneumonia and mononucleosis. If you have symptoms of this condition, ask your doctor about idiopathic hyper-somnolence. Test can determine if you have the disorder, and it can be treated with non-habit-forming drugs.
“Idiopathic hyper-somnolence is more common than people think, and it is very underdiagnosed,” says Dr. Arshad, “People try to treat their symptoms with caffeine and over the counter medications,” he notes. “None of that works. If idiopathic hyper-somnolence is the underlying cause of the symptoms, it needs to be treated by a physician.”
Like idiopathic hyper-somnolence, most sleep disorders can be effectively treated. At Aurora Health Care Sleep Disorders Treatment Center, sleep studies are conducted to evaluate idiopathic hyper-somnolence, narcolepsy, snoring, Apnea, Insomnia and other sleep problems.
Comprehensive evolutions include a physical exam, medical history and monitoring and testing while the patient sleeps in a comfortable private room at the center. The centers are staffed by pulmonologists, neurologists, psychologists, and other physician with specialized training in sleep disorders.
By: Maqbool Arshad, MD