Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder. It causes bouts of sleep during the day. Sleep attacks can happen while you drive, talk, or work. They happen without control.
The cause isn’t known. It may be linked to problems with:
Narcolepsy is most common in people:
People often have at least 1 or more of:
Strong feelings, such as laughter, fear, or stress, often cause cataplexy.
Brainstem—Area of Brain Related to Alertness
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You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. You may have:
Treating narcolepsy depends on the problems you have. Common methods are:
Narcolepsy can't be prevented since the cause is unknown.
National Sleep Foundation
Better Sleep Council Canada
Canadian Sleep Society
Bhat A, El Sohl AA. Management of narcolepsy. Expert Opin Pharmacotherapy. 2008;9(10):1721-1733.
Dauvilliers Y, Arnulf I, Mignot E. Narcolepsy with cataplexy. Lancet. 2007;369(9560):499-511.
Narcolepsy. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116132/Narcolepsy . Updated November 14, 2017. Accessed August 22, 2018.
Narcolepsy. National Sleep Foundation website. Available at: https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/narcolepsy-and-sleep. Accessed August 22, 2018.
Narcolepsy fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Narcolepsy-Fact-Sheet. Updated July 6, 2018. Accessed August 22, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 8/22/2018