To finally get rid of the sleepy head

Hypersomnolence can be treated by addressing the underlying causes of the problem

By: Jean Hamann - published in Le Fil

Do you regularly have sudden cravings for sleep that interfere with your daily activities? You could be part of the substantial contingent of the population - between 5% and 30%, depending on the studies - who suffer from hypersomnolence. If so, researchers at Université Laval and Université de Montpellier have two good news for you. The first is that the rate of improvement and remission of this condition is high. The second is that it is possible to intervene effectively on certain causes of the problem. This is what Isabelle Jaussent and Yves Dauvilliers, from INSERM in Montpellier, and Charles Morin and Hans Ivers, from the School of Psychology and the CERVO Brain Research Centre, report in a recent issue of the journal Sleep.

Researchers reach these findings after following a population sample of 2167 Canadians for five years. Participants were asked to complete a periodic questionnaire on their propensity to have difficulty staying awake during the day.

Translated with

"Hypersomnolence or excessive daytime sleepiness is characterized by a persistent feeling of having difficulty staying awake," explains Professor Morin. It is a physiological phenomenon that closely follows the temperature fluctuations of our body. This condition is often associated with a poor quality of life and higher risks of accidents and injuries."

Analysis of the data shows that 33% of the participants initially experienced hypersomnolence. During the follow-up period, 33% of these people had persistent hypersomnolence, 44% had intermittent hypersomnolence and 23% had remission. The researchers listed the characteristics of hypersomnolents who have experienced an improvement or remission of their condition. In a nutshell, these people had better quality night sleep, were less depressed and had a normal body mass index.

The causes of hypersomnolence are multiple, but they often result from lifestyle habits that interfere with night sleep, summarizes Charles Morin.

"Almost 60% of Canadians say they are sleep-deprived because of their professional and personal obligations. They lack time to do everything and it is their sleep that suffers. What our study shows is that the best remedy for hypersomnolence is night sleep. It is essential to give it the importance it deserves."

See this article Le Fil de l'Université Laval


Original research article:

I Jaussent, C M Morin, H Ivers, Y Dauvilliers, Natural history of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness: A population-based 5-year longitudinal study, Sleep, , zsz249,

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