What is excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)?

Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) is a common problem that affects both adults and children. It occurs when a person experiences an overwhelming urge to sleep during the day, despite having had a full night’s sleep. A variety of medical conditions can cause EDS, including sleep apnea, depression, narcolepsy, and sleep deprivation, as well as lifestyle choices such as alcohol or drug use. It can also be a side effect of certain medications.


Causes of EDS

Daytime sleepiness is a condition that can undermine a person’s quality of life. While occasional episodes of daytime sleepiness are normal, chronic EDS can have serious underlying causes.

One of the most common causes of excessive daytime sleepiness is not getting enough sleep at night. The average adult needs between 7-9 hours of sleep every night, but many people do not get enough. Sleep deprivation can cause a wide range of symptoms, including daytime sleepiness.

Another common cause of daytime sleepiness is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person’s breathing is interrupted while they are sleeping. This can lead to poor quality sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Poor sleep hygiene can also lead to excessive daytime sleepiness. Sleep hygiene refers to habits and activities that promote better sleep. Poor sleep hygiene can include things like drinking caffeine late in the day, using electronic devices in bed, and eating an enormous meal before bed.

Medications can also cause excessive daytime sleepiness. Many medications, including sedatives and antihistamines, can cause drowsiness. It is important to talk to a doctor before taking any medication, as some medications can have serious side effects.

Numerous medical conditions can cause excessive daytime sleepiness. Conditions such as narcolepsy, thyroid problems, and depression can all cause symptoms of daytime sleepiness.

Symptoms of EDS

The most common symptom of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness is a powerful urge to sleep during the day, even when one has had enough sleep the night before. This can lead to difficulty in concentrating and an inability to focus on tasks.

Other symptoms include:

  • difficulty in waking up in the morning,
  • feeling tired and sluggish throughout the day,
  • and difficulty in staying awake for extended periods of time.

Daytime napping is another symptom of EDS, as well as having difficulty in waking up from naps. People with EDS may also experience feelings of irritability, depression, and anxiety because of their lack of sleep.

Student needing chronotherapy

Treating EDS

Lifestyle changes can be an efficient way to reduce excessive daytime sleepiness. These changes include getting regular exercise, reducing caffeine consumption, establishing regular sleep and wake times, avoiding alcohol and other drugs, and avoiding huge meals and arduous exercise close to bedtime. Creating a comfortable sleep environment, such as keeping the bedroom dark, cool and quiet, can help to promote a restful sleep. Medication can also treat EDS.

Stimulant medications, such as modafinil, are commonly prescribed to increase alertness and reduce fatigue. Other medications, such as sodium oxybate, are used to improve the quality of sleep. In addition, medications such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can help to reduce sleep disruption and improve sleep quality.

When treating excessive daytime sleepiness, it is important to talk to a healthcare provider to determine the best course of action. Depending on the severity of the condition, lifestyle changes and/or medication may be necessary. It is also important to note that lifestyle changes may take several weeks to take effect, while medications may take several days to become effective.

With the right combination of lifestyle changes and medication, we can manage excessive daytime sleepiness.


Excessive daytime sleepiness can have serious implications for an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It can lead to impaired concentration and memory, mood swings, and a decrease in productivity. It can also be a sign of an underlying sleep disorder or medical condition, so it’s important to address the issue and seek professional help as soon as possible. With proper diagnosis and treatment, EDSs can be managed and even eliminated.