Medications for Sleepiness

These medications treat sleepiness and unintentional napping. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a combination of these medications.

Man Sleeping at desk

Modafinil and armodafinil are popular medications for improving alertness and reducing feelings of sleepiness. They are thought to act on dopamine, a chemical in the brain involved in waking. Taking one of these medications may help you feel more awake and productive during the day.

Amphetamines are also used to treat daytime sleepiness and improve alertness. There are a number of types of amphetamines, so talk to your doctor and find one that works well and has the fewest side effects. These medications also work by acting on dopamine, as well as other chemicals in the brain. There are short-acting and long-acting amphetamines and you should talk to your doctor about how and when to take these.

Sodium Oxybate is a derivative of a naturally occurring chemical in the brain. This medication is taken in liquid form to improve nighttime sleep, resulting in better daytime alertness and reduced cataplexy. Research indicates sodium oxybate reduces feelings of daytime drowsiness, although the mechanism behind this not well understood.