COVID-19 and Central Nervous System Hypersomnias

Curr Sleep Med Rep. 2022;8(3):42-49. doi: 10.1007/s40675-022-00226-5. Epub 2022 Jul 25.


Purpose of review: Central nervous system (CNS) hypersomnias can be triggered by external factors, such as infection or as a response to vaccination. The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, which was caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), led to a worldwide effort to quickly develop a vaccine to contain the pandemic and reduce morbidity and mortality. This narrative review is focused on the literature published in the past 2 years and provides an update on current knowledge in respect of the triggering of CNS hypersomnias by infection per se, vaccination, and circadian rhythm alterations caused by social isolation, lockdown, and quarantine.

Recent findings: At present, there is no consensus on the association between hypersomnias and COVID-19 vaccination or infection per se; however, the data suggest that there has been an increase in excessive daytime sleepiness due to vaccination, but only for a short duration. Kleine Levin syndrome, hypersomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, and narcolepsy were aggravated and exacerbated in some case reports in the literature. Both increased and decreased sleep duration and improved and worsened sleep quality were described. In all age groups, delayed sleep time was frequent in studies of patients with hypersomnolence.

Summary: The hypothesis that there is a pathophysiological mechanism by which the virus, vaccination, and the effects of quarantine aggravate hypersomnias is discussed in this review.

Keywords: COVID-19; Hypersomnia; Kleine Levin syndrome, Idiopathic hypersomnia; Narcolepsy; SARS-CoV-2.

Publication types

  • Review