Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder. People who have it may fall asleep at any point during the day. This happens quickly and without control. Sleep attacks last 3 to 30 minutes long. They also carry a risk of danger. They can happen at any time such as while driving or standing on a ladder. Narcolepsy can make it harder on your work and social life.
The exact cause is unknown. There may be a combination of problems with:
- Certain genes in the brain
- The immune system—it attacks healthy cells
- Your environment
Narcolepsy. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116132/Narcolepsy. Updated November 14, 2017. Accessed August 24, 2018.
Narcolepsy. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. National Institutes of Health website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/narcolepsy. Accessed August 24, 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 24, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD Last Updated: 8/24/2018