French consensus. Hypersomnolence: Evaluation and diagnosis

Sleepiness is one of the most frequently reported complaints in adults and children during specialised sleep consultations. It is responsible for an alteration that can be severe in quality of life, a lowering of academic or professional performance, and domestic or work accidents. Hypersomnolence is the first cause of road accidents on the highway, responsible for a third of fatal accidents. Furthermore its presence is associated with an increased risk of morbi-mortality related to cardiovascular and neurodegenerative pathologies. Hence, its represents a real public health issue. Recent revisions in international classifications have clarified confusing terminology, and the complaint of hypersomnia has now been replaced by the terms hypersomnolence or excessive sleepiness. It is clinically defined as an excessive quantity of sleep over 24hours, and/or by an alteration in the quality of arousal defined as incapacity to maintain a satisfactory level of vigilance during the day or in the morning on awakening (defined as sleep inertia). The evaluation of sleepiness requires a rigorous clinical approach, completed by subjective and objective measurements. The Epworth Sleep Scale, Multiple Sleep Latency Tests and the Maintenance of Wakefulness Test are the most studied and used in clinical practice. However, to date, no gold standard measurement of excessive sleepiness exists, and there are no quantifiable biological markers. It is therefore important to optimise our evaluation tools, improve our pathophysiological understanding of sleepiness, and define genetic and environmental risk factors.

  • Dauvilliers Y
  • Lopez R
  • Lecendreux M


  • Rev Neurol (Paris)
Nov 09;173(1-2):19-24