I was diagnosed with Narcolepsy, a sleep disorder that causes unexpected sleep attacks, at the age of 20. I didn't even know what narcolepsy was until I started having uncontrollable sleep attacks during my sophomore year of college. I had failed my first class all because I spent more time in class and my free time sleeping then paying attention in class and reading. It was then that I knew something was wrong with me and i started doing some research. I learned about narcolepsy and the more I read it seemed that all of the symptoms fit perfectly to what I was going through.
Most of my family and friends didn't believe me when I told them I thoughts I had narcolepsy, they thought it was just a good excuse for not having my priorities straight and focusing better in school. After about 8 months of struggling with numerous and intense sleep attacks and consuming large amounts of coffee and energy drinks (which seemed to do nothing but make me shaky) I went in for a sleep study. the next morning I was told I slept peace fully without any physical interruptions but that I could reach REM within 1 minute or less (and stay there for most of my sleeping hours), unlike the average person who takes 10 minutes or more to reach REM and when they do its usually for a short time.
Here is a video that shows a young man who suffers of intense narcolepsy and cataplexy. In this video you can really get a good look of what cataplexy looks like. Hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations, dream like experiences is common for all people, especially people who suffer from narcolepsy. Hypnagogic hallucinations happen during the transition of awake to sleep, where as hypnopompic hallucinations happen during the transition of being asleep to awake. These kinds of hallucinations are usually accompanied by sleep paralysis which causes an inability to move or talk. Sleep paralysis is a very stange experience and has its history of folk tales << this is one common one here in the U.S..
Narcolepsy is a difficult thing to manage as it can strike at any moment. The use of stimulants and a nap and sleep schedule helps decrease the amounts of sleep attacks that occur but regardless people with narcolepsy have to learn to deal with all the side effects of narcolepsy.