Narcolepsy is a nervous system disorder which results in frequent, uncontrolled episodes of sleep during the day. This neurological disorder is caused by the brain’s inability to regulate sleep/wake patterns normally. Sleep attacks can occur while driving, talking, or working and last from 1 to 30 minutes.
Narcoleptics enter REM (rapid eye movement) sleep early and do not go through a normal cycle of sleep stages which makes them feel tired all day. Symptoms include excessive daytime sleepiness and loss of muscle tone which leads to weakness.
There is no cure for narcolepsy; it is treated with medication. Other treatments include electromyography (EMG), nerve conduction studies, or electric nerve stimulation.
Our Health Library has additional information on Narcolepsy.