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Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2005;7(4):347-56.


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Service de Neurologie B, Hôpital Gui-de-Chauliac, INSERM E0361, Montpellier, France.


Hypersomnia, a complaint of excessive daytime sleep or sleepiness, affects 4% to 6% of the population, with an impact on the everyday life of the patient Methodological tools to explore sleep and wakefulness (interview, questionnaires, sleep diary, polysomnography, Multiple Sleep Latency Test, Maintenance of Wakefulness Test) and psychomotor tests (for example, psychomotor vigilance task and Oxford Sleep Resistance or Osler Test) help distinguish between the causes of hypersomnia. In this article, the causes of hypersomnia are detailed following the conventional classification of hypersomnic syndromes: narcolepsy, idiopathic hypersomnia, recurrent hypersomnia, insufficient sleep syndrome, medication- and toxin-dependent sleepiness, hypersomnia associated with psychiatric disorders, hypersomnia associated with neurological disorders, posttraumatic hypersomnia, infection (with a special emphasis on the differences between bacterial and viral diseases compared with parasitic diseases, such as sleeping sickness) and hypersomnia, hypersomnia associated with metabolic or endocrine diseases, breathing-related sleep disorders and sleep apnea syndromes, and periodic limb movements in sleep.

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