symptoms mainly start when you're a teen or young adult. These can happen even if you get enough sleep each night. Some people find their symptoms worsen with age. Women with narcolepsy start to feel better after menopause.
You may have one or more of:
Overwhelming daytime sleepiness
Sleep attacks that you can't control—They can last 3 to 30 minutes long. They may happen from time to time during the day. But, they can also happen because of:
Being in a warm environment
Eating a heavy meal
Working in a place you find boring or where you don't move around much
Cataplexy is a sudden and complete loss of muscle tone and strength. It can happen at any time during the day. It's mainly caused by:
Strong emotions such as anger and laughter
Eating a heavy meal
Sleep paralysis is a complete or partial inability to move or speak. This happens just as a sleep attack starts or ends.
Mainly happen as sleep starts or ends—sometimes can happen when you're awake
Are mostly vivid images that you can see, but they don't exist
Can also be heard and felt
Episodes like sleepwalking that may happen during sleep attacks
May include continuation of current activity or meaningless speech
Narcolepsy. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. National Institutes of Health website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/narcolepsy. Accessed September 5, 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 September 5, 2018.
Last reviewed June 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 9/5/2018
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