Primary hypersomnia, what is it?

Primary hypersomnia, what is it?

Sleeping is a basic need For the human being, it is an indispensable action for our proper functioning and to be able to carry out our daily activity, but what happens when, no matter how much we sleep, we are still tired and sleepy?

Feel dream During the day it is a true handicap that affects our quality of life, affecting our mood and even our work. It is the case of the primary hypersomnia, which we talked about in this article today.


  • 1 What is primary hypersomnia?
  • 2 Symptoms of primary hypersomnia
  • 3 Who is affected by primary hypersomnia?
  • 4 What are the causes of hypersomnia?
  • 5 Treatment of primary hypersomnia

What is primary hypersomnia?

The primary hypersomnia is a sleep disorder which is characterized by a excessive tiredness during the day and a great difficulty for wake up from nighttime sleep or daily naps.

People suffering from primary hypersomnia they usually feel sleepy Despite having slept during the night and may find it very difficult to feel awake and alert during the morning, sometimes using stimulant drugs to cope with this situation.

Primary hypersomnia is categorized as a central hypersomnolence disorder, in the same category in which the narcolepsy and the Kleine-Levin syndrome, a disease in which in addition to excessive sleep, there are other symptoms such as compulsive feeding, hypersexuality and some cognitive disorders.

For people who suffer from this condition, it is very difficult to live day to day normally due to the fatigue experienced and usually need sleep long naps They do not repair this feeling of tiredness. This immediate need for sleep can come in any time of day.

Symptoms of primary hypersomnia

In order for the condition to be classified as primary hypersomnia, patients must comply with this symptomatology:

  • Experience drowsiness during at least three months and three days a week, either in the form of prolonged nighttime sleep or additional daytime sleep.
  • Submit a impairment of daily functioning due to this drowsiness.
  • This excessive need for sleep is not explained by other causes such as insomnia or narcolepsy, as well as by the use of substances.

In addition, other symptoms such as anxiety, feeling of low energy, thought and / or slow speech, difficulties to memorize, as well as irritation and lack of appetite.

Who is affected by primary hypersomnia?

At least 5% of the population He has hypersomnia at some point in his life and this seems to be more prevalent in men.

Primary hypersomnia usually begins between 5 and 30 years and usually progresses for weeks or months, and can become a chronic state if not treated properly.

There is also the secondary hypersomnia, a state of drowsiness that, unlike the primary one, is caused by lack of self-imposed sleep or due to contextual circumstances.

What are the causes of hypersomnia?

The causes can be very varied, shuffling from a genetic predisposition to disorders such as hyperglycemia or depression, however, many times these they don't know exactly. Some research suggests that sleep interruptions during the night they promote a REM phase deficit in it, getting the individual to feel more tired despite having slept for many hours.

Treatment of primary hypersomnia

Some medications, always prescribed by a sleep specialist, can help the patient avoid daily sleepiness. These may be drugs that are also used to treat narcolepsy, such as amphetamines, methylphenidate or modafinil.

In addition, there are treatments based on behavior modification that affect changes in lifestyles to benefit the patient's sleep, such as: comply with schedules, do physical exercises, lighter diets and avoidance of stressors before bedtime, such as mobile devices that keep us alert and hinder the dream.

In addition, techniques and exercises can be recommended to improve attention and concentration, as well as to improve social communication skills in order to express this discomfort and not feel misunderstood.

The treatments can be different depending on the causes of the disorder and the specific cases, but the union of the pharmacological treatments next to these behavior modification techniques It is usually the most recommended.

If you have any of the symptoms described in this section, do not hesitate to consult your sleep specialist to be able to treat the significant discomfort that this disorder produces.

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