Narcolepsy is a sleeping disorder characterized by the rapid and often unexpected onset of sleep. This disorder causes people to experience sleep lasting a few seconds to several minutes, and in rare cases a few hours. While it takes normal sleepers hours to enter REM sleep, narcoleptic sufferers enter REM immediately. This has caused many researchers to believe that narcolepsy is from a sleep-wake cycle that is severely thrown off.
People with this disorder are at risk of falling asleep at any given moment. They are also at risk for cataplexy which is a complete loss of muscle tone. This can lead to people falling and injuring themselves. People are most likely to endure a narcoleptic episode after they experience strong emotions or sexual intercourse.
It has been found that genetic abnormalities and traumatic brain damage lead to the development of narcolepsy.
Sufferers can take medication known as modafinil which promotes wakefulness and is effective in treating narcolepsy.
While I have never met anyone with this disorder, I have seen several examples in movies and TV shows, showing the bizarre effects of this disorder.
The clip below was taken from the movie Rat Race. One of the characters in the movie suffers from narcolepsy. This is a humorous example of the disorder.