Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)

Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia) is a condition where people fall asleep repeatedly during the day.

Check if it's hypersomnia

Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia) is different from feeling tired all the time.

If you have hypersomnia, you may:

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • you often fall asleep during the day
  • sleepiness is affecting your life

What happens at your appointment

To find out why you're sleeping excessively, a GP might:

Treatment for excessive sleepiness will depend on what's causing it. It may include medicine to help keep you awake.

Causes of hypersomnia

Sometimes other conditions may be related to excessive sleepiness (hypersomnia). These conditions can have additional symptoms.

Additional symptoms Possible cause
Falling into a deep sleep anywhere, without warning Narcolepsy
Loud snorting, breathing and snoring at night Sleep apnoea
An unusual feeling in your legs, particularly at night Restless legs syndrome
Low mood, little interest in things and feeling irritable Depression
Mood swings that range from extreme highs (mania) to extreme lows Bipolar disorder

Some medicines, drinking too much alcohol and taking drugs can also cause excessive daytime sleepiness.

Sometimes there is no known cause. This is called idiopathic hypersomnia.

Things you can try to help your sleeping habits

Changing your sleep habits may not cure excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia), but it might help you feel better.

Try to:

It might also help to talk to your family and friends about your excessive daytime sleepiness so they're aware of it.

Page last reviewed: 4 August 2020
Next review due: 4 August 2023