Daytime Sleepiness

Daytime Sleepiness: Causes, Effects, and Prevention

Daytime sleepiness, or excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), is an overall lack of energy and alertness. It may be accompanied by a strong urge to take a nap during the day, even after getting enough sleep at night. People with EDS often have difficulty focusing and functioning at their best during the day.

Daytime sleepiness is common, and many people experience it at least occasionally. However, in some cases, it can interfere with daily life and may even be a sign of an underlying health condition.


Daytime sleepiness is a symptom of various underlying conditions and lifestyle habits. Possible causes include:

  • Insomnia
  • Sleep apnea
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Narcolepsy
  • Periodic limb movement disorder
  • Circadian rhythm disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Caffeine or nicotine use
  • Medications
  • Sleep deprivation


Daytime sleepiness can have a negative impact on day-to-day functioning and overall quality of life. It can lead to:

  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing on tasks
  • Forgetfulness and memory loss
  • Reduced work performance
  • Depressed mood
  • Increases in accidents and injuries
  • Reduced motivation
  • Decreases in overall productivity


The best way to prevent daytime sleepiness is to ensure that you’re getting adequate sleep at night. Healthy sleep habits include:

  • Sticking to a regular sleep and wake schedule, even on the weekends.
  • Exercising regularly, but avoiding strenuous exercise in the evening.
  • Creating a sleep-promoting environment, such as a dark, cool, and quiet bedroom.
  • Avoiding caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol in the evening.
  • Using the bedroom only for sleep and sex.

If you’re having difficulty falling or staying asleep, talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help identify any underlying health issues that may be causing your sleep problems.