The main symptom of IHS is a pervasive daytime sleepiness despite adequate, or more typically, extraordinary sleep amounts (e.g., > 10 hours per night). Additional symptoms and complaints commonly encountered include unrefreshing or non-restorative sleep, and sleep inertia and sleep drunkenness (e.g., feeling of grogginess and disorientation upon awakening from a deep sleep). The usual age of onset is in the mid-to-late teens although it can begin at a later age. Symptom intensity often varies between weeks, months, or years, can worsen just prior to menses, and can spontaneously remit in 10-15% of patients. Sleep is usually described as “deep” and arousal from sleep is usually difficult, often requiring multiple alarm clocks and morning rituals to ensure that patients arise for school or work. In contrast to the short and generally refreshing daytime naps observed in genuine narcolepsy, those in IHS patients can be very long – on the scale of hours – and are unrefreshing. A history of hyper-sensitivity to other drugs that further enhance GABA receptor function such as alcohol, anesthetics, or sedative-hypnotics can often be elicited.
If you answered "Yes" to several of the questions above, you may benefit from further evaluation by a sleep clinician. To make an appointment at the Emory Sleep Center please call 404-712-7533 or visit our clinic website (www.emoryhealthcare.org/sleep/).