Narcolepsy is a disorder that affects the brain. This is where regulation of sleep and wakefulness takes place. Narcolepsy can be thought of as an intrusion of dreaming sleep (REM) into the waking state.

Narcoleptics continue to experience an irresistible need to sleep no matter how much sleep they get. People with narcolepsy can fall asleep at any given time. This may happen while at work, talking, or driving a car. This sleep can last from 30 seconds to more than 30 minutes. Narcoleptics can may experience periods of cataplexy which is the loss of muscle tone. This can range from a slight buckling at the knees to a complete, limpness throughout the body.

The onset of narcolepsy can occur at any time throughout your life, but generally occurs during your teen years. Narcolepsy has been found to be hereditary along with some environmental factors.

Symptoms may include:

  • Excessive sleepiness.

  • Temporary decrease or loss of muscle control, especially when getting excited.

  • Vivid dream-like images when drifting off to sleep or waking up.

  • Waking up unable to move or talk for a brief time.

Simple Test for Narcolepsy:

  • Do you feel like you could sleep for days and still wake up sleepy?

  • Do you ever collapse or feel weak when laughing?

  • Do you ever collapse or feel weak when angry?

  • Are you afraid you may fall asleep while driving?

  • Are you afraid you may fall asleep while doing activities such as taking a bath or swimming?

  • Did one anyone in your family have the “sleeping sickness”?