sleep foundation


The National Sleep Foundation

Medically Reviewed by

The National Sleep Foundation

Written by

The National Sleep Foundation

Narcolepsy symptoms can vary from person to person, with some cases more severe than others. There are two main types of narcolepsy:

Narcolepsy with Cataplexy

In addition to the other narcolepsy symptoms, people who have narcolepsy with cataplexy experience sudden muscle weakness and lose control of the muscles in their face, arms, legs, or torso. This causes the person to slur words, have a sagging jaw, collapse, or slump over and be unable to move. During cataplexy, the person is awake. An episode can last for seconds or up to one or two minutes and is often triggered by a strong emotion, such as excitement or laughter.

Narcolepsy without Cataplexy

A person with narcolepsy without cataplexy has all the symptoms of narcolepsy extreme sleepiness, sleep attacks, dream-like hallucinations and paralysis while falling asleep or waking up, and disrupted nighttime sleep), but without episodes of sudden muscle weakness triggered by strong emotions. This type of narcolepsy can be less severe than narcolepsy with cataplexy.