“Sometimes a nap is 20 minutes. Sometimes it is 3 hours.” – Nicki

Advancements in the understanding of narcolepsy are happening. Be the first to know. Sign Up Now

Advancements in the understanding of narcolepsy are happening. Be the first to know.

Sign Up Now

What Is Excessive Daytime Sleepiness?

All people living with narcolepsy have EDS.

Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) is the inability to stay awake and alert during the day. People living with narcolepsy feel a constant and often uncontrollable desire to sleep, becoming drowsy and falling asleep throughout the day. They may report feeling tired, fatigued, or that they have mental fog.

Watch Video

EDS has significantly affected Nicki’s life, especially due to “surprise naps” that have caused her to sleep through her own birthday celebration.

What causes narcolepsy symptoms?

Discover the science »

Stories about living with narcolepsy are personal.

Listen to them now »
Obvious Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

In people living with narcolepsy, EDS may cause obvious changes in wakefulness. The pressure for sleep may be so great that they need to nap or sometimes nap uncontrollably. People may do things with no awareness or memory (automatic behavior), such as writing, cooking, or talking to a friend.

Less Obvious Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

People living with narcolepsy rarely feel alert and awake, and may struggle with making decisions, memory, or following a conversation. They may be unable to pay attention, concentrate, or remain awake in school, in meetings, or while reading.

Everyday Life With Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

EDS can affect school and work performance and impact relationships. People living with narcolepsy may avoid spending time with family and friends and feel isolated, depressed, or anxious.

Talking openly about symptoms and their impact as part of ongoing communication with a healthcare professional can help improve day-to-day life with narcolepsy.

You’re trying to fight the fog, to appear normal and excited to see friends.

Nicki, 29 years old, living with narcolepsy with cataplexy

Naps may be only briefly refreshing for people living with narcolepsy. However, scheduled naps may be a useful way to help people manage their sleepiness, if the naps do not affect nighttime sleep.

Did You Know?

Performance of routine tasks without awareness or memory.

Difficulty focusing or concentrating.

Brief loss of muscle tone with retained awareness, often triggered by strong emotions.

Frequent shifts between different states of sleep and wakefulness at night.

The inability to stay awake and alert during the day; a constant need for sleep or unintentionally falling asleep.

A chemical in the brain that helps maintain wakefulness.

Vivid, realistic, and frightening dream-like events that occur when falling asleep.

Dream-like events that occur when falling asleep. Called hypnopompic hallucinations if they occur when waking up.

A chemical in the brain that helps maintain wakefulness and prevent non-REM sleep and REM sleep from occurring at the wrong time.

Unintentionally falling asleep due to excessive daytime sleepiness; “sleep attacks.”

Restorative sleep state with decreased muscle tone.

Occurs at night and includes vivid dreams; muscles are not active to prevent people from acting out dreams.

Daytime and evening habits to improve sleep.

Brief total loss of voluntary muscle control when falling asleep or while waking up.

People with type 1 narcolepsy can be diagnosed by their cataplexy or low levels of hypocretin.

The cause of type 2 narcolepsy is unknown.