Excessive daytime sleepiness

Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) is usually the first symptom of narcolepsy. People with narcolepsy typically experience periods of drowsiness, tiredness, lack of energy, an irresistible urge to sleep (“sleep attack”), and/or an inability to resist sleep.

This susceptibility to unending drowsiness and/or falling asleep may occur every day but the severity varies from day to day and throughout each day. These episodes are more likely to occur during monotonous, boring activities such as watching television.

However, the episodes can occur at any time even when a person is walking, talking, eating or driving a car. Consequently, narcolepsy can profoundly disrupt a person’s life. Affected individuals may fall asleep for brief periods ranging from a few seconds to several minutes. A characteristic finding of narcolepsy is that affected individuals often feel dramatically more awake and alert following short naps.