Have a symptom?
See what questions
a doctor would ask.

Symptoms of Narcolepsy

Symptoms of Narcolepsy

The list of signs and symptoms mentioned in various sources for Narcolepsy includes the 31 symptoms listed below:

Research symptoms & diagnosis of Narcolepsy:

Narcolepsy: Symptom Checkers

Review the available symptom checkers for these symptoms of Narcolepsy:

Narcolepsy: Symptom Assessment Questionnaires

Review the available Assessment Questionnaires for the symptoms of Narcolepsy:

Narcolepsy: Complications

Review medical complications possibly associated with Narcolepsy:

Diagnostic Testing

Diagnostic testing of medical conditions related to Narcolepsy:

Research More About Narcolepsy

Do I have Narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy: Medical Mistakes

Narcolepsy: Undiagnosed Conditions

Diseases that may be commonly undiagnosed in related medical areas:

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical tests related to Narcolepsy:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Narcolepsy?

The list of other diseases or medical conditions that may be on the differential diagnosis list of alternative diagnoses for Narcolepsy includes:

Narcolepsy: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research all specialists including ratings, affiliations, and sanctions.

More about symptoms of Narcolepsy:

More information about symptoms of Narcolepsy and related conditions:

Other Possible Causes of these Symptoms

Click on any of the symptoms below to see a full list of other causes including diseases, medical conditions, toxins, drug interactions, or drug side effect causes of that symptom.

Article Excerpts About Symptoms of Narcolepsy:

Genes and Disease by the National Center for Biotechnology (Excerpt)

Affected individuals are extremely drowsy during the daytime and may fall into a deep sleep at any time. After a short nap, the patient may feel refreshed, but it is only a short period of time before drowsiness returns.

The second major symptom of narcolepsy is called cataplexy. Cataplexy refers to a sudden weakness of the muscles that leads to collapse. This is often triggered by an emotional response such as laughter, surprise, or anger. (Source: Genes and Disease by the National Center for Biotechnology)

NINDS Narcolepsy Information Page: NINDS (Excerpt)

The four classic symptoms of the disorder are excessive daytime sleepiness; cataplexy (sudden, brief episodes of muscle weakness or paralysis brought on by strong emotions such as laughter, anger, surprise or anticipation); sleep paralysis (paralysis upon falling asleep or waking up); and hypnagogic hallucinations (vivid dream-like images that occur at sleep onset). Disturbed nighttime sleep, including tossing and turning in bed, leg jerks, nightmares, and frequent awakenings, may also occur. The development, number and severity of symptoms vary widely among individuals with the disorder. It is probable that there is an important genetic component to the disorder as well. Unrelenting excessive sleepiness is usually the first and most prominent symptom of narcolepsy. Patients with the disorder experience irresistible sleep attacks, throughout the day, which can last for 30 seconds to more than 30 minutes, regardless of the amount or quality of prior nighttime sleep. These attacks result in episodes of sleep at work and social events, while eating, talking and driving, and in other similarly inappropriate occasions. (Source: excerpt from NINDS Narcolepsy Information Page: NINDS)

Narcolepsy: NWHIC (Excerpt)

The main characteristic of narcolepsy is excessive and overwhelming daytime sleepiness, even after adequate nighttime sleep. A person with narcolepsy is likely to become drowsy or to fall asleep, often at inappropriate times and places. Daytime sleep attacks may occur with or without warning and may be irresistible. These attacks can occur repeatedly in a single day. Drowsiness may persist for prolonged periods of time. In addition, nighttime sleep may be fragmented with frequent wakenings. (Source: excerpt from Narcolepsy: NWHIC)

Narcolepsy: NWHIC (Excerpt)

In addition to overwhelming irresistible sleepiness, there are three other classic symptoms of narcolepsy, which may not occur in all patients:

  • Cataplexy: sudden episodes of loss of muscle function, ranging from slight weakness (such as limpness at the neck or knees, sagging facial muscles, or inability to speak clearly) to complete body collapse.

  • Sleep paralysis: temporary inability to talk or move when falling asleep or waking up. It may last a few seconds to minutes.

  • Hypnagogic hallucinations: vivid, often frightening, dream-like experiences that occur while dozing or falling asleep.

Only about 20 to 25 percent of people with narcolepsy experience all symptoms. The symptoms of narcolepsy, especially the excessive daytime sleepiness and cataplexy, often become severe enough to cause serious disruptions in a person's social, personal, and professional life and can severely limit activities. 

In most cases, the first symptom of narcolepsy to appear is excessive and overwhelming daytime sleepiness. The other symptoms may begin alone or in combination months or years after the onset of the daytime sleep attacks. (Source: excerpt from Narcolepsy: NWHIC)

Narcolepsy: NWHIC (Excerpt)

You should be checked for narcolepsy if:

  • you often feel excessively and overwhelmingly sleepy during the day, even after having had a full night's sleep;

  • you fall asleep when you do not intend to, such as while having dinner, talking, driving, or working;

  • you collapse suddenly or your neck muscles feel too weak to hold up your head when you laugh or become angry, surprised, or shocked; or

  • you find yourself briefly unable to talk or move while falling asleep or waking up.

(Source: excerpt from Narcolepsy: NWHIC)

Narcolepsy as a Cause of Symptoms or Medical Conditions

When considering symptoms of Narcolepsy, it is also important to consider Narcolepsy as a possible cause of other medical conditions. The Disease Database lists the following medical conditions that Narcolepsy may cause:

- (Source - Diseases Database)

Narcolepsy: Onset and Incubation

Onset of Narcolepsy: The age-of-onset distribution is bimodal. The highest peak occurs at 15 years, while a less pronounced peak occurs at 36 years.

Medical articles and books on symptoms:

These general reference articles may be of interest in relation to medical signs and symptoms of disease in general:

About signs and symptoms of Narcolepsy:

The symptom information on this page attempts to provide a list of some possible signs and symptoms of Narcolepsy. This signs and symptoms information for Narcolepsy has been gathered from various sources, may not be fully accurate, and may not be the full list of Narcolepsy signs or Narcolepsy symptoms. Furthermore, signs and symptoms of Narcolepsy may vary on an individual basis for each patient. Only your doctor can provide adequate diagnosis of any signs or symptoms and whether they are indeed Narcolepsy symptoms.


By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use. Information provided on this site is for informational purposes only; it is not intended as a substitute for advice from your own medical team. The information on this site is not to be used for diagnosing or treating any health concerns you may have - please contact your physician or health care professional for all your medical needs. Please see our Terms of Use.

Home | Symptoms | Diseases | Diagnosis | Videos | Tools | Forum | About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Site Map | Advertise