This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Narcolepsy is a chronic brain disorder that involves poor control of sleep-wake cycles. People with narcolepsy have episodes of extreme daytime sleepiness and sudden, irresistible bouts of sleep (called “sleep attacks”) that can occur at any time, and may last from seconds or minutes. Other signs and symptoms may include cataplexy (a sudden loss of muscle tone that makes a person go limp or unable to move); vivid dream-like images or hallucinations; and/or total paralysis just before falling asleep or after waking-up. Narcolepsy may have several causes, the most common being low levels of the neurotransmitter hypocretin (for various possible reasons). The disorder is usually sporadic but some cases are familial. There is no cure, but some symptoms can be managed with medicines and lifestyle changes.
For more information, visit GARD.