Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder that affects the brain’s ability to control sleep-wake cycles. This is characterized by overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. If you are diagnosed with narcolepsy, you may find it difficult to stay awake for long periods of time and unwillingly fall asleep during any type of activity throughout the day. The cause of narcolepsy is not completely understood, but it may be linked to autoimmune disorders, family history or brain injuries.
Additional symptoms of narcolepsy include cataplexy (sudden loss of muscle tone), sleep paralysis, hallucinations, and automatic behaviors. If diagnosed by your healthcare provider, treatments can include medications and lifestyle changes that may help you manage the symptoms.