All You Need to Know About Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder that causes those affected to experience uncontrollable sleep during the day. It affects men and women equally; experts estimate that people with family history of Narcolepsy are 10 times more likely to suffer from it as well. In most cases, the first symptoms occur in early adolescence, but some people may not experience symptoms until they are in their early 20’s.

Classic symptoms of Narcolepsy include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)
  • Cataplexy, sudden loss of muscle tone is one of the main symptoms of Narcolepsy.
  • Sleep Paralysis. A person isn’t able to move or speak during the attack.
  • Hallucinations (hypnologic hallucinations) transitional state between wakefulness and sleep.

Additionally, a person suffering from Narcolepsy may also experience:

  • Problems with staying asleep during the night.
  • Automatic Behavior, in which a person may function during sleep (talk, walk, put things away.) but awakens with no recollection of such episodes.
  • Loss of sharp vision

The core causes of Narcolepsy aren’t fully known yet. Scientists are researching a theory that would link genetic factors, autoimmunity and REM sleep. We do know, however, that Narcolepsy isn’t caused by mental illness or psychological problems and it is most likely caused by genetic abnormalities that affect the brain.

Narcolepsy itself is not fatal, but its symptoms can lead to death indirectly (e.g. falling asleep while driving).

Famous people who suffer from Narcolepsy include: Jimmy Kimmel (television host, comedian), Nastassja Kinski (actress), and Franck Bouyer (professional cyclist),

If you’d like to explore this topic further, please visit:

Do you or anyone you know suffer from Narcolepsy? What is the most dangerous episode you had?  Leave us a comment below.

By Agnieszka

The Sleep Blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Instead, this website provides general information for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider if you have questions or concerns regarding any medical condition or treatment.

3 thoughts on “All You Need to Know About Narcolepsy”

  1. I was talking to a friend at night recently and she was telling me that she couldn’t seem to be able to get to sleep. She didn’t know the reason why she was not able to sleep too. She said that she was tired but just couldn’t fall asleep. In fact she is not the only person whom I have encountered to have problem falling asleep at night. Another two friends were telling me the same thing; that they felt tired but just couldn’t fall asleep. Are you having the same problem? To some, sleep comes almost naturally – they just lay down on the bed and before they know it, they have fallen asleep. Yet to others, sleep is a luxury which ironically they can only dream about. Fortunately most people only experience sleeping problem once in a while. Nothing could be more frustrating than not being able to sleep. Tossing and turning. Your mind is racing, going over everything that happened today.
    May me help you to sleep!

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