Hypersomnia causes excessive daytime sleepiness. It may also cause a person to sleep for unnecessarily long lengths of time at night. Individuals with hypersomnia may feel a compulsion to nap frequently during the day, usually at inconvenient times. Napping often provides no relief from the sense of tiredness. Additionally, people with hypersomnia may have difficulty functioning due to fatigue, which adversely affects many aspects of day-to-day life. There are two overarching types of hypersomnia: primary and secondary.
There are many different hypersomnias. Those that begin in the brain, such as neurological disorders, are primary hypersomnias. Narcolepsy is one of the most prominent hypersomnias. People with narcolepsy experience episodes of excessive daytime sleepiness that can last from a few seconds to several minutes. Around 70 percent of narcoleptics also experience muscle weakness or cataplexy during these episodes. Unlike other hypersomnias, individuals with narcolepsy tend to sleep the same number of hours per night as individuals without hypersomnia. However, the quality of sleep is often much worse. Other primary hypersomnias include idiopathic hypersomnia and recurrent hypersomnias such as Kleine-Levin syndrome.
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