Excessive Sleeping Explained & Your Treatment Options
It been said many times and in many ways, moderation is the key to a happy life. Nowhere is this more important than in the area of sleep. Excessive sleeping has a multitude of negative consequences; physical, mental and financial.
Many people are inclined to dismiss Excessive Sleep Disorder as a phase or mere laziness. This condition should not be taken lightly as it may be indicative of a far more serious ailment.
How is Excessive Sleeping Characterized?
In short, excessive sleeping refers to a 25 percent or more increase in total sleeping time that continues for more than a few days. Subjects who exhibit this symptom are typically evaluated for mood swings, disruptive sleep patterns, use of prescription & non-prescription drugs, and nighttime breathing pauses.
Also, if possible, the subject’s partner is questioned as they can often provide additional insights into the patient’s sleep habits.
Excessive Sleep Disorders
Dyssomnias, or sleep disorders, manifest themselves in a variety of forms.
Hypersomnia is a sleep disorder that causes repeated and extreme sleepiness in subjects during daylight hours.
Hypersomnia is unusual in that subjects with the condition typically receive more than the usual amount of sleep.
A similar excessive sleeping disorder, Long Sleeping, is characterized by the subject feeling the need for 10-12 hours of sleep, Any less and the subjects typically complain of physical fatigue and lack of mental focus.
Kleine-Levin Syndrome, or Sleeping Beauty Syndrome, is a neurological disorder characterized by hypersomnolence punctuated only by bathroom and feeding breaks. In other words, the subject sleeps continually only rising to eat and use the bathroom. In addition, during the ”awake” periods, the patient is typically lethargic, apathetic and confused.
Narcolepsy is a dyssomnia characterized by the desire to sleep at inappropriate times. Narcolepsy, unlike most other excessive sleeping disorders, usually exhibit disturbed nocturnal sleep patterns.
What Are the Causes of this Sleep Related Disorder?
A wide variety of causes have been proposed to explain the onset and perpetuation of the various sleeping disorders.
It has been suggested that neurological disorders including encephalitis, meningitis, and brain can damage the sleep centers of the brain. Heart or lung disorders may lead to lead to lowered levels of brain oxygenation and disrupt sleep patterns.
Sleep apnea syndrome and narcolepsy offer physical reasons for sleep disruption while severe anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder offer a psychological cause for the various dyssomnias.
Dyssomnias in general and hypersomnia in particular, may also result from overuse of sleep aids and other drugs that are intended to cause drowsiness.
Research on this Sleep Related Disorder
Excessive Sleep Disorder has serious consequences beyond the immediate feelings of listlessness and lack of focus.
Several independent sleep studies have determined there are significant risks associated with EDS. For instance, 36 percent of Americans drive while drowsy or actually fall asleep at the wheel.
29 percent of Americans have unwillingly fallen asleep at work. 20 percent report losing interest in sex because of excessive tiredness. Lastly, 14 percent have missed important family functions or work related activities due to lack of sleep.
As is evident, physical danger and diminished quality of life are only two of the more serious consequences of Excessive Sleep Disorders.
Coping Strategies for this Sleep Disorder
Coping with excessive sleep disorders center on two major strategies, regularity of bedtime routine and removal of any distractions.
To implement the first strategy, patients are required to develop a consistent sleep schedule even on weekends or other off days. In addition, a pre-sleep routine should be developed to aid the body in easing into a sleep mode.
The second strategy aims to condition the mind that the bedroom is for sleeping. Patients are encouraged to only use the bedroom for sex and sleep. No other activities should be performed in the bedroom. Remove or disable any TV’s, phones or other distractions.
In addition, the nighttime environment should be dark, quiet and comfortable. Lastly, limiting caffeine and alcohol consumption, especially in the evening is highly beneficial as both are distracting influences.
Treatment for Excessive Sleep Disorders
Treatments for excessive sleeping vary according the exact nature of the problem. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are used to alleviate disturbed sleep patterns such as apnea.
Depending on the exact circumstance, doctors will prescribe either Ritalin, a stimulant, or Prozac, an antidepressant. In other cases, most notably narcolepsy, Xyrem is often prescribed.
A significant portion of the American population suffers some sort of sleep or sleep-related dysfunction like excessive sleeping.
The consequences range from the merely inconvenient to the physically dangerous. Ignored or left untreated, the situation will only deteriorate. Effective coping strategies and treatments do exist. It is a simple matter avail oneself of these treatments.