Narcolepsy Symptoms

Two of the most common narcolepsy symptoms—excessive daytime sleepiness and cataplexy—are often connected to your emotional state. You may tend to exhibit these symptoms when you experience intense emotions, such as laughter, sadness, surprise, or frustration.

Common narcolepsy symptoms include:

  • Cataplexy (loss of muscle control). Often, narcolepsy may cause you to have a sudden loss of muscle control while awake, usually triggered by strong emotions, such as laughing or crying.
  • Hallucinations. Some people with narcolepsy experience vivid, sometimes frightening, visual or auditory sensations while falling asleep or upon awakening.
  • Sleep paralysis. You may be unable to move or talk at the beginning or end of sleep.
  • Microsleep is a very brief sleep episode during which you continue to function (talk, put things away, etc.), and then awaken with no memory of the activities.
  • Nighttime wakefulness. If you suffer with narcolepsy, you may have periods of wakefulness at night, with hot flashes, elevated heart rate, and sometimes intense alertness.
  • Rapid entry into REM sleep. Narcoleptics have unique sleep cycles. You may enter the REM or dream phase of sleep right after falling asleep, whereas most people take about 90 minutes to enter REM. Therefore, you’ll experience the characteristics of REM sleep (vivid dreams and muscle paralysis) at the beginning of sleep, even if that sleep is during the day.
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