Hypersomnia: excessive sleepiness.


One of the ‘delights’ of living with depression is the contradictory symptoms you can experience: insomnia, hypersomnia; weight loss, weight gain – it’s one of my bugbears with the medical model of psychiatric illness: that the same label can apply to a disorder with such a huge range of symptoms.

Still, I’m being unfair, because I can experience both insomnia and hypersomnia (though obviously not at the same time, ha ha).

This week, it’s hypersomnia.

Perhaps it’s because this week, I have been unconsciously avoiding feeling things, thinking about things? And perhaps the insomnia comes at times when I am more in touch with my feelings? It will be interesting to observe these trends over the next little while and see if this prediction pans out.

What’s your experience of sleep disturbance with depression?


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16 responses to “Hypersomnia

  1. I definitely think the link between feeling more emotional and insomnia makes sense. Therefore you’d assume those times during your depression when you’re all “I can’t be bothered with life right now” you just sleep it away. Seems to fit with my experiences anyway.


    • Thanks! Yes, it makes sense for me. There’s only one problem in proving the hypothesis: when you’re avoiding your emotions, feeling “numb” as I have been this week, you’re not aware of it …! Still, this is where it helps having a good therapist: he’ll be ware of it. I see some diarizing and sleep tracking in my future.


  2. I experience both as well. Definitely hypersomnia for the past two weeks. And I can see a link between emotions/insomnia and apathy/hypersomnia. For the past two weeks I was supposed to record the times I have negative feelings about myself. There aren’t too many, not because I’m becoming so much better at liking myself but because I’ve been sleeping so much and not feeling.


  3. I have Bipolar Disorder and it slants mostly towards depression. I experience hypersomnia on a regular basis but I believe it is mostly because of the antidepressant I take. It’s crazy that and AD would cause something that is a symptom of depression. Anyhow, it’s just one of the many things I’ll be discussing with my doc next week. Having Bipolar does give me the “opportunity” to experience insomnia as well. When I start losing sleep, I start becoming manic. When I’ve gone 3-4 days without sleep I become psychotic. So, my doc has prescribed a sleep medication to take before I get that far and it has done the trick. I haven’t had a psychotic episode sine October of 2011.


    • Thanks, Gavin. Yeah, those antidepressants are interesting medications, aren’t they? Last time I saw my GP I discussed my plans to lose weight (because, seriously, I’m in danger of Type II diabetes if it doesn’t come off) and he basically told me I wouldn’t be able to lose weight with the medication regime I’m on. Well, I’m fairly certain that I can prove him wrong on that count! The relationship between my GP and my medications psychiatrist continues to deteriorate because the latter consistently doesn’t keep the former informed about medication changes. I’m thinking of changing medication blokes, because he’s really been screwing me around lately, but we’re in the middle of an insurance claim, so I feel I need to wait until that’s sorted … *sigh* I just wish my life were simple again.


  4. Frances Chamberlain

    I’ll add a hypothesis… I think when I oversleep that I am learning something from my unconscious or like the unconscious wants to be heard; and when I under-sleep, it’s cause of going through my conscious thought processes or over thinking stuff consciously; and the feelings are connected to the thoughts rather conscious or unconscious ones.. anyhoo, food for thought!!


  5. I take sleeping pills and other meds but there are some nights where I just can’t shut my mind up so I am tired as hell but can’t sleep.


    • I know that feeling. I hate it when I’m so tired I feel sick but I still can’t get to sleep. Sometimes, on those nights, even sleeping tablets don’t work! I have got a lot better at controlling what I think about in bed – I have some pleasant things I visualize in great detail, to avoid ruminating. Sometimes it helps.


  6. “Perhaps it’s because this week, I have been unconsciously avoiding feeling things, thinking about things? And perhaps the insomnia comes at times when I am more in touch with my feelings?”

    I think my hypersomnia kicks in for the same reasons. If I’m asleep, I can’t be stuck in the cyclical contemplations that make my stomach hurt (that’s at least how my anxiety presents itself). I think I sleep more from being drained from it all and wanting a break… I wish I knew why my insomnia occurs; I am pretty much worried all the time but the insomnia comes intermittently- I have no idea. At least the two kinda balance each other out in terms of getting enough sleep lol


  7. As my anxiety level rises – ,my hypersomnia kicks in – I stayed in bed for 13.5 hours the other night/day – with only 1 bathroom break part way through… life just seemed easier in dreamland than reality…


    • Yes.
      I was just on the phone to a friend who’s about to head back into hospital for a while, and she’s looking forward to being able to sleep, now the decision’s been made. I suspect she intends to sleep and sleep and sleep!


  8. Pingback: My Superpower | In & Out, Up & Down: Dysthymia Bree's Musings On Mental Health and Psychiatric Wards

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