Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

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What is it?

EDS involves an irresistible urge to sleep at inappropriate times during the day. People with narcolepsy may also suffer sleep attacks during which they fall asleep quite involuntarily, or may suffer 'micro-sleeps', very often without being conscious of having slept.

EDS can cause other symptoms such as mental 'fuzziness', poor memory, problems focusing the eyes, lack of energy and exhaustion. However, after taking a short nap, a person with narcolepsy often wakes feeling refreshed and able to function relatively normally for some time.

Does everyone with narcolepsy have EDS?

All people with narcolepsy experience Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) and it is usually the first symptom to develop. The effect of EDS is that and ever greater effort has to be expended on remaining awake during the daytime.

What other people think

One of the problems that people with narcolepsy face is that those around them equate their pathological sleepiness with those persons' own experience of sleepiness and assume that that the person with narcolepsy could stay awake if they really wanted to, or tried harder. That is not the case. EDS is totally outside the control of the person who suffers from it, and is the manifestation of a neurological disorder, and not a sign of wilful lack of effort.

More information can be found in our resources on theĀ symptoms of narcolepsy andĀ narcolepsy diagnosis and assessment.