Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the control of sleep and wakefulness. People with narcolepsy experience excessive daytime sleepiness and intermittent, uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the daytime. Sleepiness may interfere with any type of activity at any time of the day. People suffering from narcolepsy go into REM sleep very early in a sleep cycle and also sometimes during wake causing sleep to be fragmented and not refreshing.
Narcolepsy is the disease that is most frequently diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 25; it is a very important consideration in high school and college students as well as other young adults with significant excessive daytime sleepiness.
There are no known causes for narcolepsy.
1. Excessive daytime sleepiness
2. Cataplexy: when a person suddenly feels weak and collapses at moments of strong emotion such as laughter, anger, fear or surprise.
3. Hallucinations: hypnagogic hallucinations when accompanying sleep onset and hypnopompic hallucinations when occurring during awakening.
4. Sleep paralysis: temporary inability to move or speak while falling asleep or waking up.
There is no cure for narcolepsy but there are treatment options to control symptoms Lifestyle adjustments can reduce symptoms such as avoiding caffeine, alcohol, smoking, and regulating sleep schedule. Medications are sometimes prescribed to treat narcolepsy.