Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder characterized by overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. People with narcolepsy often find it difficult to stay awake for long periods of time, regardless of the circumstances. Narcolepsy can cause serious disruptions in your daily routine.

Sometimes, narcolepsy can be accompanied by a sudden loss of muscle tone (cataplexy) that leads to weakness and loss of muscle control. Cataplexy is often triggered by a strong emotion, most commonly laughter.

Narcolepsy is a chronic condition for which there's no cure. However, medications and lifestyle changes can help you manage the symptoms. Support from others — family, friends, employer, teachers — can help you cope with narcolepsy.

Sept. 01, 2015