Hypersomnolence Australia's Articles

10. Mar, 2017

The 2017 World Sleep Day slogan is, “Sleep Soundly, Nurture Life.” This focus is purposefully broad in meaning, surrounding the message that quality of life with a sleep disorder can be improved, but recognition of sleep’s importance for overall health and well-being must come first. Though most sleep disorders are preventable or treatable, less than one-third of sufferers seek professional help.

Sleep Impacting Disease

Sleep has a health impact on the prevalence of natural diseases. Current research suggests stroke and heart failure are more prevalent in people living with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). World Sleep Day aims to inform the world about the importance of treating even mild sleep disorders. Individuals who struggle to get an entire night’s sleep without any interruptions experience higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and other chronic illnesses.

Sleep Impacting Psychological Disorders

Studies have shown that people with poor quality sleep suffer from more symptoms of anxiety and depression than people without poor quality sleep. Research has also revealed that individuals with depression experienced lower quality sleep than those with no history of depression. Research is underway to better understand the link between sleep quality and mental health.

General FACTS

  • Consistently sleeping for more than nine hours or fewer than eight hours a day has a negative impact on physiological, psychological and cognitive functions.
  • Breathing regularly during sleep is critical to maintain well-being and health. Persistent interruption of the breathing function during sleep is called sleep apnea. This is a pervasive and common disorder that affects 4% of men and 2% of women.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea causes daytime sleepiness and fatigue and significantly impacts health and well-being. The drop in oxygen that occurs when breathing stops puts a strain on the heart and can lead to a number of serious health conditions including hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
  • Lack of sleep or poor quality sleep is known to have a significant negative impact on our health in the long and short term. Next day effects of poor quality sleep include a negative impact on our attention span, memory recall and learning. Longer term effects are being studied, but poor quality sleep or sleep deprivation has been associated with significant health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, weakened immune systems and even some cancer.
  • Lack of sleep is related to many psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety and psychosis.
  • Quality sleep is crucial to ensure good health and quality of life.
  • Three elements of good quality sleep are:
    • Duration: The length of sleep should be sufficient for the sleeper to be rested and alert the following day.
    • Continuity: Sleep periods should be seamless without fragmentation.
    • Depth: Sleep should be deep enough to be restorative.

Known Consequences: Some Statistics

  • A US study has estimated the annual costs of insomnia to be between $92.5 billion and $107.5 billion. The annual economic burden of undiagnosed sleep apnea among U.S. adults is approximately $149.6 billion.
  • Patients with Idiopathic Hypersomnia and Narcolepsy have twice as many total annual medication transactions and an overall significantly higher average of medical services costs than those without the sleep disorders.
  • Because of the severity of Idiopathic Hypersomnia and Narcolepsy, patients also often bear indirect costs related to their increased risk of accidents, higher likelihood of unemployment, and loss of academic opportunities.
  • The most common and most destructive symptom of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is sleep disturbance. More than two-thirds of RLS patients experience serious insomnia, waking up several times per night is typical for RLS patients. RLS also disrupts rest during waking hours, such as when the patient is sitting or relaxing. Thus, whether awake or asleep, patients with RLS find little opportunity for the general restorative behaviours necessary for healthy human functioning, resulting in high rates of comorbidities including depression, anxiety, and hypertension.
  • 71,000 people suffer injuries every year due to sleep-related accidents.
  • 1,550 people die because of sleep-related accidents.

If you suffer from poor quality/disturbed sleep, wake up feeling unrefreshed or have trouble staying awaking during the day see your doctor, you may have a sleep disorder. Many sleep disturbances and sleep disorders can be managed with the right treatment and perhaps sensible lifestyle adjustments.

1. Mar, 2017


New directions and exciting partnerships….

We have learnt a lot about Idiopathic Hypersomnia and about sleep medicine in general since Hypersomnolence Australia was officially launched in March 2013. We have learnt that sleep medicine is a fairly young medical specialty in not only Australia but the rest of the world too. When we first started Hypersomnolence Australia we were surprised to learn that sleep training for GP's was almost non existent. We were even more surprised to learn that there were too few specialty training posts for doctors in Australia that could provide broad exposure to and quality training in, the whole range of sleep disorders, particularly non-respiratory sleep disorders. We have also found this to be the case in other parts of the world too. It has certainly explained why there was a lack of awareness and quality information available about Idiopathic Hypersomnia and why there were no support services available to patients, no research being done (in Australia) and no approved medications (anywhere in the world).

While there are organisations that represent sleep health and others that represent specific sleep disorders there were no organisations anywhere in the world that catered specifically to Idiopathic Hypersomnia. When patients were diagnosed there was nowhere for them to go for information so that they could better understand the condition and the implications it has on quality of life. There was nowhere for them to direct family and friends to either which made explaining it to others very difficult.

At the beginning of 2013 we set out to change that by setting up the world’s first Not for Profit organisation dedicated to Idiopathic Hypersomnia. Hypersomnolence Australia was registered as a Health Promotion Charity in March that year. We are still the only Not for Profit health promotion charity dedicated to Idiopathic Hypersomnia in Australia but we are pleased to say that there are now other organisations, the Hypersomnia Foundation and Atlanta Hypersomnia Support in the US on board with us raising awareness and providing support and information for Hypersomnia.

We shared this post last year on our 3rd anniversary so the direction is not so much new to us however it might be new to others that are unaware of Hypersomnolence Australia’s goals and purpose. 

We will continue to move in the direction mentioned in that post and look forward to working with Sleep Disorders Australia on joint projects that see both organisations reach common goals.

11. Feb, 2017

Patients tell us that one of their biggest frustrations is some people don't believe them or don't think Idiopathic Hypersomnia is "real" ... So, do people with Idiopathic Hypersomnia really sleep longer than normal?

The answer is yes.

Various studies (see below) using objective testing methods ie: 24hr monitoring or Actigraphy, have confirmed that people with IH sleep longer than is considered normal (more than 8 hours in 24). The longest sleep episode or night time sleep is not always longer than normal however in every case the overall sleep time* in a 24hr period was longer than the controls (people who sleep a normal amount).

*this means the time patients are actually asleep, not just the time in bed.

Research also confirms that the sleep efficiency in patients with idiopathic hypersomnia is higher than normal, ie: people with IH generally have better than normal quality sleep.

This is from the study “Subjective symptoms in idiopathic hypersomnia: beyond excessive sleepiness”

"The Greek-origin word ‘hypersomnia’ means ‘excess of sleep’, which captures one of the main essences of the disease. One may regret that the word hypersomnia has progressively changed meaning to designate many conditions associated with excessive daytime sleepiness, but not with a real excess of sleep (Billiard, 1994). In idiopathic hypersomnia, the sleep excess is best expressed in unrestricted conditions, such as during the weekend, on holidays and in the sleep laboratory, with an average of three additional hours slept. One may notice in this study that the sleep time obtained during long-term monitoring in the sleep laboratory is very similar to the usual sleep time during holidays and on weekends in the patients, suggesting it is not a completely artificial measure, disconnected from true life.”

Idiopathic Hypersomnia with and without Long Sleep Time: A Controlled Series of 75 Patients - Cyrille Vernet, MSc and Isabelle Arnulf, MD, PhD

Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, Idiopathic Hypersomnia
- Billiard M, Merle C, Carlander B, Ondze B, Alvarez D, Besset A

Increased REM Density in Narcolepsy-Cataplexy and the Polysymptomatic Form of Idiopathic Hypersomnia - Jitka Vanková MD, Sona Nevšímalová MD DSc, Karel Šonka MD PhD, Nataša Špacková PhD, Katerina Švejdová-Bla¬ejová MD

Idiopathic hypersomnia: a study of 187 personally observed cases. Roth B. Int Neurol.

Subjective symptoms in idiopathic hypersomnia: beyond excessive sleepiness.
Vernet C, Leu-Semenescu S, Buzare MA, Arnulf I.

Idiopathic Hypersomnia Michel Billiard

Actigraphic assessment of sleep/wake behavior in central disorders of hypersomnolence. - Filardi M, Pizza F, Martoni M, Vandi S, Plazzi G, Natale V

Idiopathic hypersomnia - Michel Billiard, Karel Sonka

Idiopathic hypersomnia: a study of 77 cases.
Anderson KN, Pilsworth S, Sharples RD, Smith IE, Shneerson JM.

Idiopathic hypersomnia - A series of 42 patients - Bassetti and Aldrich

Hypersomnia With Sleep Drunkenness
Bedrich Roth, MD; Sonia Nevsimalova, MD; Allan Rechtschaffen

Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine
Meir H. Kryger, ‎Thomas Roth, ‎William C. Dement

8. Jan, 2017

Are you keen on making healthier lifestyle choices but you just don’t know where to start?

Would your own personal health coach help?

The “Get Healthy – Information and Coaching Service” is a program that offers FREE and confidential telephone-based expert advice and plenty of motivation to help you find a healthier, happier you. 

To be eligible for the Service, the participant must be:
Over the age of 18 years and be a resident of New South Wales, South Australia, or Queensland.

However the websites provide lots of information and free tools and tips that are available to anyone.


If you are in SA or NSW call 1300 860 258 or if you are in
Qld: 13 432584 (13 HEALTH)
Monday-Friday 8am-8pm