This list of famous people with narcolepsy is loosely ranked by fame and popularity. Narcolepsy is a disorder caused by the brain improperly regulating sleep-wake cycles. Narcolepsy is often confused with insomnia, as individuals who suffer from the disorder have trouble sleeping at night. Narcolepsy is thought to be caused by genetics or environmental issues that result in a virus. There is no known cure for narcolepsy, but it can be treated with medication and therapy. These famous narcoleptics all struggle with the condition.
Who is the most famous person with narcolepsy? Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill tops our list. Churchill didn’t stress much about his condition stating that, “You must sleep sometime between lunch and dinner… Take off your clothes and get into bed… You get two days in one. Well, at least one-and-a-half.” Thomas Alva Edison, Louis Braille, and Harriet Tubman also suffered from narcolepsy.
Narcolepsy also impacts more modern Hollywood celebrities. Comedian and talk show host Jimmy Kimmel wrote an essay for Esquire about his condition. In it, Kimmel states, “Truth be told, I’d rather have narcolepsy than not have it. When I get on a flight to Vegas, I’ll fall asleep before the plane takes off and wake up after it’s landed. I’m always very close to sleep.”
Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain was undiagnosed as a narcoleptic, but he claimed that he suffered from the condition in interviews.
Winston Churchill is one of the most famous people to suffer from Narcolepsy. He commented on his condition stating, “You must sleep sometime between lunch and dinner… Take off your clothes and get into bed… You get two days in one. Well, at least one-and-a-half.”
Comedian Jimmy Kimmel makes light of his narcolepsy by saying, “Truth be told, I’d rather have narcolepsy than not have it. When I get on a flight to Vegas, I’ll fall asleep before the plane takes off and wake up after it’s landed. I’m always very close to sleep.”
Thomas Edison was thought to have had narcolepsy as he was photographed sleeping in his lab.
Actress Nastassja Kinski suffers from narcolepsy and frequently discusses her condition publicly.
Controversial comedian Lenny Bruce took medication to treat his narcolepsy.
Underground railroad pioneer Harriet Tubman suffered from narcolepsy and epilepsy as the result of a head injury.
Louis Braille, the man who invented help the blind to read, was thought to have had narcolepsy.
Cyclist Franck Bouyer was disqualified from competing in the sport he loves because his narcolepsy medication was considered a performance enhancing drug. Bouyer found the decision and has since been allowed to compete.
British actor Arthur Lowe suffered from narcolepsy and was known to fall asleep and inopportune times.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Author Teresa Nielsen Hayden takes medication to treat her narcolepsy.
Harold M. Ickes
Bill Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff suffers from narcolepsy.
Soccer player Aaron Flahavan suffered from narcolepsy and blacked out during two matches.