A recent article attempts to distinguish the difference between hypersomnia and narcolepsy. The article within consumer media shows that there is at least some confusion. It points out that hypersomnia and narcolepsy are related but distinct medical terms.
“Narcolepsy is a specific neurological disorder that causes sudden attacks of deep sleep, while hypersomnia is a symptom, and refers to excessive daytime sleepiness more generally,” Medical News writes. “Hypersomnia, or hypersomnolence, is a symptom of narcolepsy. It is therefore not possible to compare and contrast hypersomnia and narcolepsy, since they are not separate medical conditions.”
There are two categories of hypersomnia: primary and secondary. Making matters a bit murkier, primary hypersomnia “occurs due to an underlying condition that directly affects the sleep-wake cycle, such as narcolepsy.”
Meanwhile, narcolepsy is one of the causes of primary hypersomnia and people with narcolepsy also often experience:
- sleep paralysis, which causes a temporary inability to move or speak as a person falls asleep or wakes up;
- hallucinations, which can accompany sleep paralysis and may be frightening; and
- difficulty staying asleep at night, which may cause frequent waking or insomnia.
Source: Medical News Today