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Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

The term hypersomnia refers to a large group of disorders characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS.)


Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) lasting for at least three months is the most common symptom of hypersomnia.

Risk Factors

Hypersomnia affects approximately 5% of the general population. Men are affected more than women because they are more likely to have sleep apnea, and sleep apnea is sometimes associated with hypersomnia.


A sleep specialist will work with the patient to determine if the daytime sleepiness is severe enough to be diagnosed as hypersomnia. If it is, the doctor will do a medical examination to determine what other disorders could be causing the hypersomnia.


Hypersomnia can be “primary” if originates in the brain or “secondary” if it is caused by any one of a number of other medical conditions.

Primary Hypersomnia

The true primary hypersomnias include narcolepsy with and without cataplexy; idiopathic hypersomnia, which has no identifiable cause; and recurrent hypersomnia, which comes and goes.

Secondary Hypersomnia

Secondary hypersomnia can be caused by many different medical conditions. Please see a sleep specialist for information about your specific problem.


Appropriate treatment will depend on the specific cause or causes that are diagnosed by your sleep specialist.