Sleep Too Much?

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Sleep Too Much?

As college students, we often complain that we have not gotten enough sleep on any given night. We drink copious amounts of caffeine in order to stay awake and finish that paper. Many times, we compensate for a lack of sleep at night by taking naps after (and sometimes during) our classes. This behavior might be recognized as "normal" by many teenagers and young people. However, many college-aged people suffer from sleep disorders. The most commonly recognized among these is insomnia, or the inability to obtain an adequate amount of sleep. But often overlooked and potentially harmful is hypersomnia. Although we rarely identify it as a negative condition, many of us actually get too much sleep.

Hypersomnia is defined as excessive daytime sleepiness and/or nighttime sleep. Humans sleep for an average of eight hours a night. Those with hypersomnia may find themselves sleeping for over ten hours at a time. (2) The most common symptoms are napping at inappropriate times, difficulty waking up, anxiety, irritability, restlessness and fatigue. Some more serious symptoms may include hallucination, loss of appetite, memory loss, or the inability to hear, see, taste, or smell things accurately. The disorder can have a profound effect on one's ability to cope in social situations. (1) There is a range of possible causes for the condition, but the primary cause is described as abnormalities that occur during sleep or abnormalities of specific sleep functions. (2)

Those with hypersomnia are generally diagnosed in one of four categories by a polysomnogram, which monitors a patient during one night of rest. (2)

Post-traumatic Hypersomnia is caused by trauma to the central nervous system, such as a head injury or a tr...

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...uch becomes a habit that such behavior can become a lifelong concern.

World Wide Web Sources

1) National Institute of Neurological disorders and Stroke Homepage.,, Information about sleep disorders as related to neurology.

2) Talk About Sleep: Idiopathic Hypersomnia, An informational website about sleeping disorders including a forum.

3) Bringing Secrets of the Night to the Light of Day, Idiopathic Hypersomnia , Written by a doctor as a means of helping to identify abnormal sleeping behavior.

4) The Johns Hopkins Newsletter, science page, an article from Johns Hopkins University about college students and sleep disorders.

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