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Famous People with Narcolepsy

Famous People with Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a neurological condition that causes sufferers to have increased sleepiness during daytime hours. The major symptoms of narcolepsy are excessive daytime sleepiness (E.D.S.), Cataplexy and Sleep Paralysis. In addition, rapid eye movement is also a common sign of this condition.

Jimmy Kimmel
Famous people with narcolepsy have managed to control their condition and still become successful and productive in society. Narcolepsy can range in severity, but class, status and celebrity do not keep you from developing this condition.

List of Famous People with Narcolepsy

  • Gabe Barham ( musician)
  • Franck Bouyer (French cyclist)
  • Lenny Bruce (comedian)
  • George M. Church (molecular geneticist)
  • Winston Churchill
  • Aaron Flahavan (goalkeeper)
  • Teresa Nielsen Hayden (science fiction editor and essayist)
  • Harold M. Ickes (deputy White House Chief of Staff under Bill Clinton)
  • Nicole Jeray (pro golfer on LPGA)
  • Jimmy Kimmel (comedian and talk show host)
  • Nastassja Kinski (actress)
  • Arthur Lowe (actor)
  • Jinkx Monsoon (stage performer)
  • Harriet Tubman (underground railroad notable)

Those suspected of having had narcolepsy include Louis Braille, Kurt Cobain and Thomas Edison. Medical conditions don’t discriminate and affect all humans, because famous people are just humans too. We might equate celebrities with immortality or increased power, but they are just like everyone else. In fact, Jimmy Kimmel, Winston Churchill and Harriet Tubman are famous people that suffer or had suffered from this abnormal sleep condition.

The amazing thing about these individuals is that they found a way to limit their symptoms and keep them from putting limitations on their abilities. Many people with narcolepsy live normal lives and manage their bouts of sleepiness effectively. Fame or celebrity have no impact at all on narcolepsy.

Winston Churchill

The case of Franck Bouyer is an interesting one. He is a professional French bicycle racer who was prescribed Modafinil for narcolepsy. Bouyer was banned by several cycling agencies between 2004 – 2008 because they did not know how to measure the therapeutic versus performance enhancing aspect of the drug in a human body. In 2009 a drug called Xyrem came on the market to treat narcolepsy which Bouyer started taking and he was no longer banned from the sport.

Counting Sheep …

Narcolepsy involves random bouts of daytime drowsiness, but also leads to disturbed nighttime sleeping patterns. This causes random awakenings that can make normal sleep impossible. This condition is caused by a neuron deficiency in the brain that is most often genetic.

Therefore, this condition is passed down and can be traced to your genetics, in most cases. In order to get a proper diagnosis all individuals, including famous people, must consult with a sleep specialist. This condition may seem like it is rare or unknown, but more than three million people suffer from narcolepsy.

Sometimes when we see celebrities on television or read about them in history, we assume that we know all aspects of their daily lives. However, famous individuals like Nastassja Kinski, Lenny Bruce and Harold M. Ickes had to deal with their narcoleptic symptoms in the same way that all sufferers do.

Harriet Tubman

Just because they have increased wealth or fame, that doesn’t mean their symptoms are lessened or have a lesser impact on their life. Instead, they merely dealt with their condition publicly and became famous examples of this neurological condition. Narcolepsy can impact your overall life, but it can be managed and dealt with if doctor supervision is attained.


Many medical conditions that you are diagnosed with can have a tremendous impact on your entire life, but the trick is to learn how to manage your health condition effectively without letting it define you.