Hypersomnolence Disorder in Children and Adolescents


ICD-10 Code: G47.10

Hypersomnolence disorder is part of a cluster of diagnoses called the sleep-wake disorders.  Sleep-wake disorders are a group of psychiatric conditions that include:

  • Insomnia Disorder
  • Hypersomnolence Disorder
  • Non-Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Arousal Disorder
  • Nightmare Disorder

These disorders are broadly characterized by disruptions in sleep and wakefulness.  Individuals with insomnia disorder have frequent difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.  Individuals with hypersomnolence disorder feel excessively sleepy during the day, despite obtaining what for most people would be a full night of sleep.  Individuals with parasomnias such as non-rapid eye movement sleep arousal disorder and nightmare disorder experience unusual behaviors while sleeping, such as sleep walking, or vivid and disturbing dreams or night terrors.  

Some sleep-wake disorders, including insomnia disorder and hypersomnolence disorder, are associated with disturbances in the amount of time the individual spends asleep (too much or too little) or the times at which the individual sleeps (often outside of the desired sleeping window).  Other disorders, such as the parasomnias, are not associated with disturbances in the quantity or timing of sleep per se, but are instead associated with behavioral disturbances during sleep or frequent highly distressing dreams.

What is Hypersomnolence Disorder?

Hypersomnolence disorder usually has an onset in young adulthood; pediatric cases are rare.  Nevertheless, 6 - 20% of children report daytime sleepiness.  Hypersomnolence disorder is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, despite a main sleep period that is sufficiently long for most children at the same developmental stage.

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Understanding Hypersomnolence Disorder

Hypersomnolence disorder severity can range from mild to severe.  In severe cases, hypersomnolence disorder can lead to impaired school or work performance or impaired social relationships due to falling asleep at inappropriate times or to associated daytime symptoms, such as impaired efficiency, concentration, and memory.

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How is Hypersomnolence Disorder Treated?

Currently there is little research on the treatment of hypersomnolence outside the context of narcolepsy.  Published treatment guidelines for hypersomnolence of varying origins are available from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.   

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