Hypersomnia and narcolepsy associated with other disorders

Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) is a symptom that may be associated with disorders other than idiopathic hypersomnia (IH), narcolepsy type 1 or 2 (NT1 or NT2), or Kleine-Levin syndrome (KLS). EDS is a strong daytime sleepiness or need to sleep during the day, even with enough sleep the night before. 

Depending on your symptoms and other disorder, you may be diagnosed with one of these hypersomnia sleep disorders:

  • Hypersomnia associated with a medical disorder
  • Narcolepsy type 1 associated with a medical disorder
  • Narcolepsy type 2 associated with a medical disorder
  • Hypersomnia associated with a mental disorder

These disorders can affect your ability to do daily tasks and cause poor quality of life, similar to IH, NT1, NT2, or KLS.

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Hypersomnia associated with a medical disorder

In hypersomnia associated with a medical disorder, EDS happens because of a medical condition. These conditions include:

Infectious diseases or their effects, such as:
Whipple’s disease
Lyme disease
Encephalitis and post-infectious syndromes
Neurodegenerative diseases, such as: 
Multiple sclerosis
Multiple system atrophy
Dementia with Lewy bodies

Other problems that affect your brain, such as: 

Brain tumors
Head trauma
Metabolic encephalopathy, including hepatic, renal, adrenal, pancreatic, toxic, and inherited

Other chronic (long-term) diseases, such as:

Systemic inflammation, such as from chronic infections, rheumatologic disorders, or cancer 
Autoimmune or paraneoplastic disorders associated with anti-Ma-2 or anti-aquaporin-4 antibodies
POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome)
Endocrine disorders, such as hypothyroidism

Rare genetic disorders (conditions you were born with), such as:

Prader-Willi syndrome
Myotonic dystrophy
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
Moebius syndrome
Niemann Pick type C disease
DNMT1 mutations
Williams syndrome
Smith-Magenis syndrome
Fragile X syndrome
Norrie disease

Narcolepsy type 1 and 2 associated with a medical disorder 

In NT1 and NT2 associated with a medical disorder, the underlying medical disorder is the main cause of EDS, but people also meet the full diagnostic criteria for NT1 or NT2. If you think you have narcolepsy associated with a medical disorder, ask your doctor if you need further testing. The narcolepsy diagnosis can help you get narcolepsy treatments that may help your symptoms.

Hypersomnia associated with a mental disorder

In hypersomnia associated with a mental disorder, EDS and a mental disorder are related. Researchers don’t yet know whether the mental disorder causes the EDS, the EDS causes the mental disorder, or the two are related in another way.  

Mental disorders that may be associated include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar
  • ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity-disorder)

What can help my symptoms?

Treatment for the associated medical or mental disorder may help your hypersomnia symptoms, such as EDS

To learn more about how you can help your symptoms, visit our web pages:

Learn more

Visit our web page for doctors: “Diagnosis, classification, symptoms, and causes of hypersomnias.”

Published Jan. 19, 2024 |
Revised Jan. 30, 2024
Approved by our medical advisory board