Narcolepsy is defined by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine as a constant sleepiness and a tendency to sleep at inappropriate times. Narcoleptics frequently suffer sleep attacks. They have a feeling of sleepiness that is not relieved by any amount of sleep.
The cause of narcolepsy is not clearly understood. It is believed to be a disorder in the part of the brain that controls sleep and wake. The result is sleep intrudes into wakefulness. Some narcoleptics, but not all, will experience muscle weakness during laughter (or another strong emotion), or they may experience sleep paralysis upon awakening. Narcolepsy may run in families.
Signs of Narcolepsy:
- Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
- Cataplexy (sudden or brief loss of muscle tone with emotions
- Sleep paralysis upon awakening
- Vivid dreams that occur when drowsy
Treatment usually involves medication for the sleepiness and cataplexy (if it exits), behavior therapy and educating your family, friends and co-workers about your disorder.