Narcolepsy is categorized as a chronic sleep disorder that causes intense daytime drowsiness and sudden sleep attacks. People with this disorder often struggle to stay awake throughout the day and are unable to control their sleep cycles. They may also experience interrupted sleep throughout the night, muscle weakness, or vivid hallucinations. Untreated narcolepsy can affect psychological and cognitive function over time which may negatively impact social or academic life.
Narcolepsy can occur in both male and females and most often occurs during childhood or young adulthood between 7 and 25 years old, but may occur at any time throughout a person’s life. The condition often goes undiagnosed and could be a result of an autoimmune disorder, family history, or a brain injury. Common symptoms include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Loss of muscle tone
- Sleep paralysis
- Fragmented sleep or insomnia