Late-night TV host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel has been very open about his struggle with narcolepsy – a neurological condition whereby the sufferer experiences increased drowsiness and is prone to falling asleep suddenly. These incidents are called “sleep attacks“.
The 42-year-old was not diagnosed with the disease until he was into his 30s. And he is not the only one. According to Med TV, out of the estimated 200,000 Americans who suffer from narcolepsy, fewer than 50,000 are diagnosed.
According to AOL Health, the star tried to explain to Esquire how it feels to have the disorder: “You know how when you’re regular tired, your whole body is tired? With narcolepsy, just the inside of your head is tired. It’s like somebody’s gently sitting on your brain. You have almost no focus. All you’re thinking about is not falling asleep.”
Despite this, the comedian does not seem to have too many hang-ups about his condition. In fact, he tells Esquire that there are definite upsides: “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“
Though the TV celebrity often experiences drowsiness and has even admitted to falling asleep at work on several occasions – “I did fall asleep on the set of ‘Win Ben Stein’s Money’ a couple of times,“ he tells AOL TV – his condition is not very severe. He admits that he does not suffer from cataplexy – which has a physical effect on the body, such as limpness of limbs, slurred speech or even total collapse.
“Have I been approached to be the public face of narcolepsy? No, nobody wants me associated with their groups,“ Kimmel jokes, “I hope that changes, though. I would like to be to narcolepsy what Camille Grammer is to irritable-bowel syndrome.“
Other celebrities who suffer from narcolepsy include French cyclist Franck Bouyer.
Images: Wikimedia Commons