Abstract The aim of the present paper was to clarify the factors influencing subjective daytime sleepiness in patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). Subjects included 230 adult male OSAS patients aged 20–73 years. Single and multiple linear regression analyses were performed to estimate the association between the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and the following variables: Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS), age, body mass index (BMI), sleep duration during the preceding month and apnea–hypopnea index (AHI). Single linear regression analysis showed that age had a negative association with ESS score, while BMI, AHI, SDS, hypochondriasis (Hs), hysteria, psychopathic deviant, psychasthenia, schizophrenia and hypomania on the MMPI had a positive association with ESS score. However, the other remaining parameters such as nocturnal sleep duration during the preceding month, depression, masculinity–femininity, paranoia, social introversion on the MMPI had no statistical association with ESS score. Multiple linear regression analysis with stepwise elimination method was applied to choose the significant factors associated with ESS. It was found that three variables including age, AHI and Hs scores were independent factors influencing ESS score. The R2 for the model was 0.14, suggesting that these factors account for 14% of possible variance of subjective daytime sleepiness of OSAS patients. These results suggest that subjective daytime sleepiness in patients with OSAS may be influenced not only by the severity of respiratory disorder indices but also by certain personality characteristics affecting Hs score and by age.