Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that involves excessive, uncontrollable daytime sleepiness. Narcolepsy is caused by low levels of a neurotransmitter, hypocretin, which is a chemical in the brain that regulates the sleep and wake cycle. If you have or suspect that you may have narcolepsy, you may experience cataplexy or other “sleep attacks” while talking, working, or even driving.

Common signs and symptoms of narcolepsy include:

  • Seeing or hearing things when you’re drowsy or starting to dream before you’re fully asleep
  • Dreaming right away after going to sleep or having intense dreams
  • Suddenly feeling weak or losing control of your muscles when you’re laughing or angry
  • Feeling paralyzed and unable to move when you’re waking up or dozing off