Homer Simpson: It's Not Duff Beer That Makes Him Constantly Sleepy

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Homer Simpson returns to the small screen for a new season--the 27th--of The Simpsons on Sunday evening, and with his return comes a new diagnosis.

As all Homer Simpson fans know, Homer is chronically sleepy. In Sunday's premiere episode they'll learn that it's not simply Homer's lazy attitude or his penchant for drinking Duff Beer that makes him tired. No, indeed. It's something far more clinical than that.

Homer Simpson, you see, has narcolepsy.

Soon to become your new favorite narcoleptic--because surely everyone has at least one--Homer Simpson will be diagnosed with what is actually a debilitating disorder that is most often misdiagnosed as depression or insomnia.

"I certainly hope that Homer's story will bring more attention to (narcolepsy)," Russell Rosenberg, who is the chief executive of the Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine, says.

"He's not the typical case, although the fact that he is now being identified as having narcolepsy does exemplify the fact that many people can go years and years without getting the proper diagnosis," Rosenberg adds. "Who knows if they have a sleep specialist or sleep laboratory in Springfield?"

So what is this narcolepsy with which Homer Simpson will soon be diagnosed?

"Along with excessive daytime sleepiness, people with narcolepsy usually have sleep attacks, or involuntarily episodes of slumber. These attacks can strike even when patients are doing something they enjoy, such as spending time with friends," Rosenberg said. "Children may fall asleep in the middle of an activity at school, even if they are engaged in it."

Homer Simpson and his fans can take heed, however. Once diagnosed, most patients are prescribed drugs like Ritalin or Provigil. These stimulants help cut down some of the daytime sleepiness.

Dr. Rosenberg is also chief executive of NeuroTrials Research, a biotech company that is studying new narcolepsy treatments. Progress is being made all the time.

Are you a Homer Simpson fan? Did you ever expect he would be diagnosed with something like narcolepsy? Did you think the over-consumption of Duff Beer was what made Homer so sleepy?

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.