Idiopathic hypersomnia is a sleep disorder without a clear cause, in which you are excessively sleepy (hypersomnia) during the day. It is different from narcolepsy, because idiopathic hypersomnia does not involve suddenly falling asleep or losing muscle control due to strong emotions (cataplexy).
A psychiatric evaluation for atypical depression may also be done.
Idiopathic hypersomnia is usually treated with stimulant medications such as amphetamine, methylphenidate, and modafinil. These medicines may not work as well for this condition as they do for narcolepsy.
If an underlying cause of the hypersomnia is found, it should be treated.
Lifestyle changes that can help ease symptoms and prevent injury include:
Avoiding alcohol and medications that can make the condition worse
Avoiding operating motor vehicles or using dangerous equipment
Avoiding working at night or social activities that delay bedtime
Masri TJ, Gonzales CG, Kushida CA. Idiopathic hypersomnia. Sleep Med Clin. 2012;7:283-289.
Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.