PREVIOUS QUESTION:

 

NEXT QUESTION:

 

How does narcolepsy cause excessive sleepiness?

ANSWER

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that causes disabling daytime sleepiness and other symptoms. Narcolepsy is related to the dreaming period of sleep called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. With narcolepsy, though, REM periods can occur throughout the day. In addition to drowsiness that doesn’t improve, narcolepsy may cause brief uncontrollable moments of sleep, or “sleep attacks,” without warning. Another daytime hallmark of narcolepsy is sudden loss of muscle control, or cataplexy. This can be a slight feeling of weakness or total body collapse. It can last from seconds up to a minute. Cataplexy is related to the muscle immobility, or “paralysis,” that is part of REM sleep. It is often triggered by emotions or fatigue.

SOURCES: 

News release, FDA.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “NINDS Hypersomnia Information Page.”

Medscape: “Management of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness Reviewed.”

eMedicine: “Primary Hypersomnia.” 

eMedicine: “Obstructive Sleep Apnea.” 

eMedicine: “Disorders that Disrupt Sleep (Parasomnias).”

National Sleep Foundation: “Fatigue and Excessive Sleepiness.”

National Sleep Foundation: “Depression and Sleep.”

Narcolepsy Network: “FAQ.”

RLS Foundation: “What Is RLS?” 

RLS Foundation: “FAQ.”

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on January 19, 2017

SOURCES: 

News release, FDA.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “NINDS Hypersomnia Information Page.”

Medscape: “Management of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness Reviewed.”

eMedicine: “Primary Hypersomnia.” 

eMedicine: “Obstructive Sleep Apnea.” 

eMedicine: “Disorders that Disrupt Sleep (Parasomnias).”

National Sleep Foundation: “Fatigue and Excessive Sleepiness.”

National Sleep Foundation: “Depression and Sleep.”

Narcolepsy Network: “FAQ.”

RLS Foundation: “What Is RLS?” 

RLS Foundation: “FAQ.”

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on January 19, 2017

NEXT QUESTION:

What medications are used to treat narcolepsy relative to excessive sleepiness?

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.