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