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What causes Idiopathic Hypersomnia (IH)?

No one knows the exact cause of Idiopathic Hypersomnia. That's what the word "idiopathic" means, that the exact cause is unknown. But research suggests that the quality of nighttime sleep could play an important role.

People with Idiopathic Hypersomnia may experience:

Low amounts of the deepest (slow-wave) phase of sleep

This is the kind of sleep that is restorative and helps you feel refreshed when you wake up

Frequent interruptions (arousals) during sleep

Interruptions in your sleep cycle when shifting from a deep phase of sleep to a light one may cause your sleep to feel less refreshing

Other potential causes of Idiopathic Hypersomnia include changes in:

The levels of a natural chemical in your body that may play a role in decreasing brain activity (consciousness) and regulating sleep

A network in the brain that’s key to alertness and sleep

How your nervous system communicates with your body

Your circadian rhythm, or "internal clock"

NEXT:IH Symptoms Quiz

The content on this site is not meant to replace a conversation with a sleep specialist. A sleep specialist can evaluate your symptoms and make a diagnosis.

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