Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that causes persistent sleepiness and additional symptoms such as brief episodes of muscle weakness known as cataplexy, vivid, dreamlike hallucinations, brief episodes of paralysis when falling asleep or upon awakening (sleep paralysis), and fragmented nighttime sleep. Symptoms typically develop over several months and last a lifetime.
The disorder usually begins between ages 10 and 20, although sometimes it starts as late as age 40 or 50. Narcolepsy affects women and men equally, occurring in about 1 in 2,000 people.
Narcolepsy is a manageable condition, and with an array of treatment strategies, people with narcolepsy can live full and rewarding lives.