I consistently feel sleepy throughout the day and I am not sure why. I have done research and I believe I may either have hypersomnia or narcolepsy. What is the difference between these two disorders and how can I tell which one I have?
Doctors Answers (2)
Hypersomnia is a word which translates to "excessively sleepy". Many sleep disorders are associated with hypersomnia. Excluding narcolepsy, which is often associated with a deficiency of a chemical that promotes wakefulness. Most people with hypersomnia have a sleep pattern which is fragmented and/or restorative sleep is missing or reduced. Of course, medications can cause daytime sleepiness. The diagnosis of narcolepsy is relatively easy in the hands of a sleep specialist and other causes for sleepiness or hypersomnia is also often easy to diagnose
Both conditions have excessive sleepiness as their primary symptom. What makes them different is that narcolepsy will have REM onsets during 2 or more nap attempts on the multiple sleep latency test. Cataplexy may also be seen with narcolepsy. Treatment for both includes stimulant medication and if possible scheduled napping during the day.