What are the sleep disturbance symptoms of narcolepsy?

Updated: Sep 04, 2019
  • Author: Sagarika Nallu, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Patients with narcolepsy may experience sleep paralysis, which is the inability to move upon awakening—or, less commonly, upon falling asleep with consciousness intact. It often is accompanied by hallucinations. Respiratory and extraocular muscles are spared. Sleep paralysis occurs less frequently when patients sleep in uncomfortable positions. It can be relieved by sensory stimuli, such as touching or speaking to the person.

Sleep-related hallucinations may be either hypnagogic (ie, occurring at sleep onset) or hypnopompic (ie, occurring at awakening). These hallucinations are usually vivid (dreamlike) visual, auditory, or tactile in nature.

Disrupted nocturnal sleep is also a common feature of narcolepsy. Consequently, because of daytime naps, total sleep time in 24 hours is essentially unchanged in narcoleptic patients.

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