Symptoms of narcolepsy include excessive sleepiness and fatigue during the daytime, an inability to speak or move while waking or falling asleep, and vivid and frequent hallucinations, according to WebMD. Narcolepsy also causes patients to experience a sudden loss of muscle tone that can result in total body collapse, intense and sudden emotions, and slurred speech.
Individuals with narcolepsy often report mental cloudiness, difficulty with concentration, extreme exhaustion and memory lapses, explains WebMD. Excessive daytime sleepiness causes a lack of energy and potentially depressed moods. People with narcolepsy experience brief episodes of sleep paralysis in which they are temporarily unable to function for several seconds or a few minutes. The ability to move and speak is fully restored following the sleep paralysis episode.
Narcolepsy can occur at any age but commonly begins between 15 and 25, notes WebMD. The neurological disorder can strike at any time of the day, leaving patients unable to control sleep and wakefulness for brief periods of time. People suffering from narcolepsy immediately enter REM sleep, also known as rapid eye movement sleep, in which muscle paralysis and dreams are common. Most people take approximately 90 minutes during a typical sleep cycle to enter into REM sleep, but a narcoleptic enters this state of sleep immediately during an episode.