Modafinil, a new psychostimulant, was evaluated in eight healthy volunteers subjected to 60 hours of sleep deprivation. During continued wakefulness, vigilance was evaluated by self-assessment questionnaires, analogue visual scales, multiple sleep latency tests (MSLT), sleep logs, and continuous ambulatory electroencephalographic recordings (EEG). Modafinil (200 mg) or a placebo was given every 8 hours for three days; the sessions were separated by a 15 day wash out period. Results indicated a satisfactory level of vigilance, both subjective and objective, after the administration of modafinil, characterised by the quasi total absence of microsleep episodes which gradually occurred under placebo conditions. The confirmed wakening potency of modafinil makes this substance suitable for therapeutic use in patients with sleep disorders such as Gelineau's syndrome and hypersomnia.