Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the brain’s ability to regulate sleep-wake cycles. People with narcolepsy experience excessive daytime sleepiness and may fall asleep suddenly and without warning. Other symptoms of narcolepsy include cataplexy (sudden loss of muscle tone), sleep paralysis (inability to move or speak while falling asleep or waking up), and hypnagogic hallucinations (vivid dreams or hallucinations while falling asleep). Narcolepsy is caused by a lack of hypocretin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep-wake cycles.
Treatment for narcolepsy typically includes medications to help regulate sleep-wake cycles, lifestyle changes to improve sleep hygiene, and cognitive behavioral therapy to help manage symptoms.« Back to Glossary Index