TL;DR: Mental illness is E X H A U S T I N G and as a result, you might be tired all the time, even if you got a solid 8 hours. Or more realistically (if you have a mental illness) 12, 14, 18 hours. Hypersomnia is not to be confused with fatigue.
Thanks for coming back for another symptom. Hypersomnolence (Hypersomnia) is personal for me. I’ve experienced this almost my whole life and I’ve found very little relief from it aside from my hyperfocus moments where I’m wide awake and diving into a new obsession. Before I begin – there is a neurological disorder called Idiopathic Hypersomnia. That’s not the focus of this post, I’m only going to talk about hypersomnia in the context as symptom of greater mental illness.
Anxiety, Depression, Sleep Apnea, Narcolepsy, Bipolar Disorder, Alzheimer’s Disease
What Does the Research Tell Us?
Hypersomnia is, in basic terms, excessive daytime sleepiness or prolonged nighttime sleep. People who experience hypersomnia might nap frequently during the day, however these naps to not provide any relief from the excessive sleepiness. Additionally, those who suffer from hypersomnia might fall asleep at inappropriate times, such as at work on the computer, some social situations, or while eating dinner. It is most commonly experienced during times when social interaction is limited. In many cases of hypersomnia, you might have even excessive amounts of sleep (10 or more hours) and still feel that sleepiness throughout the day. Some who experience hypersomnia might only have daytime sleepiness but regular nighttime sleep or excessive amounts of nighttime sleep and not daytime sleepiness.
Just like most unusual sleeping patterns, people who experience hypersomnia might also experience increased irritation, decreased energy, restlessness, slow thinking, slow speech, loss of appetite, hallucinations, memory difficulty. There are also 2 types of hypersomnia: primary and secondary. Primary hypersomnia exists on its own with no other conditions. Secondary hypersomnia is a symptom of other disorders or diseases as listed above.
So What Can I Do About It?
First and foremost: I am not a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist. The following are skills from the internet and things I’ve tried for my own hypersomnia in the past. The best way to find how to cope with your own symptoms? Speak to your doctor.
Develop a Consistent Schedule: This may seem obvious, and the others below might seem obvious also, but there isn’t much to try in this case. So first, develop a consistent sleeping schedule. This might be difficult if you’re someone who works shifts or goes to school. My recommendation in that case, and what I did when I was in that situation, is go to sleep at the latest you might get home and wake up at the earliest you might wake up. In my case, my store closed at 11 and I could be in bed, going to sleep by 12:30 am. The store opened at 6, so I would have to wake up at 5:00 am. Now, OBVIOUSLY 4.5 hours is NOT enough sleep. It’s okay to stretch these times a little and it still be in the realm of consistency. 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM is 8 hours and still within a reasonable frame for consistency. Consider taking naps at reasonable times as well so that you aren’t falling asleep throughout the day.
Exercise: You don’t have to go hard. It can be as simple as doing yoga, going for a run or walk, or just doing some body weight exercises in your living room. This will help bring your heart rate up and get your adrenaline going to give you some boosts of energy.
Eat a Well-Balanced Diet: Food contributes a lot to physical health, but also to your mental health. That’s not to say that by munching down on some pineapple you’re going to be “cured” of your depression. It just means that your symptoms won’t be exacerbated by poor diet or lack of nutrients. Eating well can be difficult when you have certain mental health symptoms, but fret not: executive dysfunction meals exist. Focus on at least eating 1200 calories to start (if you’re someone who isn’t eating enough) and then work out how you’re going to cover all your carbs, fats, and proteins.
Do you experience hypersomnia? What works for you when you’re excessively tired?
Do you struggle with eating right throughout the day and are interested in more executive dysfunction meals?
Let me know in the comments!