To evaluate cognitive abnormalities in excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) using cognitive evoked potentials (P300), and to evaluate if P300 measures differentiate among disorders of EDS, a series of EDS subjects were administered a polysomnogram, auditory and visual P300 testing using 31 scalp electrodes, and a multiple sleep latency test. P300 variables were compared with those of normal subjects. Forty normal subjects ages 16 to 65 years, and 69 EDS patients ages 16 to 65 years were used. Of these, 39 had profound obstructive sleep apnea (OSA, Respiratory Disturbance Index or RDI > 80/h sleep) with severe somnolence (Mean Sleep Latency < 5 min). Twenty-two had idiopathic hypersomnia (IH). Eight had narcolepsy. The normals and the three EDS groups did not differ in age. IH and profound OSA patients had longer visual P300 latency than normals or narcolepsy patients (p < 0.05). (p < 0.05). IH and profound OSA patients had longer auditory P300 latency than normals. They had smaller auditory P300 amplitude than narcolepsy patients. There were visual P300 latency topographic differences between normals and profound OSA patients. In conclusion, IH and profound OSA patients show cognitive evoked potential evidence of cognitive dysfunction. Narcolepsy patients do not show such evidence. Visual P300 latency differentiates among disorders of EDS.