Daytime sleepiness: here are the remedies


There are 12 million Italians in the world who suffer from sleep disorders . Women suffer the most, followed by children and teenagers. The most common sleep disorder is excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). Difficulty staying awake during the day with apathy and decreased level of consciousness. Other symptoms are fatigue, poor concentration and irritability. At the base of this pathology is Obstructive Sleep Apnea: short breathing pauses that during the night lead to waking up very often. Here these repetitive micro-awakenings deprive us of sleep, making us drowsy during the day. 


new drug Pitolisant , has recently become available in Italy . Improves wakefulness and reduces excessive daytime sleepiness in adult patients with obstructive sleep apnea.


Excessive daytime sleepiness is an increasingly common condition. 33% of the adult population reports excessive sleepiness during the day: in half of the cases it is associated with functional limitations, a reduced life expectancy, cardio and cerebrovascular diseases, mental disorders and accidents. The International Classification of Sleep Disorders defines sleepiness as an increased propensity to fall asleep at inappropriate times, interfering with common activities of daily living. Ultimately, it can be defined as a subjective feeling of a need for sleep or an unintentional falling asleep episode in an unusual condition (time and place).

Giuseppe Insalaco, pulmonologist and senior researcher at the Institute of Pharmacology


A widespread disorder that is a significant cause of EDS is certainly OSA . Recurrent episodes of complete (apnea) or partial (hypopnea) obstruction of the upper airway (pharynx) during sleep. Apneas and hypopneas cause oxygen reductions, heart rate fluctuations, blood pressure increase, sleep fragmentation. 


The most commonly used treatments are CPAP and mandibular advancement appliances (MAD). However, the drug recently available in Italy, Pitolisant is an inverse antagonist of the histamine H3 receptor. The drug may be effective in improving daytime sleepiness, increasing alertness maintenance, and reducing fatigue. Furthermore, an excellent trick for the general population is to maintain a sleep-wake rhythm during the week by respecting circadian rhythms . In short, have good sleep hygiene.

  • Do you suffer from daytime sleepiness? Here are the remedies to fight it (


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