Excessive Daytime Sleepiness and Cataplexy

Four people living with narcolepsy with arms around each other looking into the distance


Living With Narcolepsy

The two most common symptoms of narcolepsy are excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) and cataplexy

You are not alone
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with narcolepsy has EDS, the inability to stay awake and alert during the day or a persistent feeling of tiredness

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Nearly 2 out of 3

people with narcolepsy may also have cataplexy, the sudden onset of weak or paralyzed muscles, usually brought on by strong emotions or certain situations

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Approximately 165,000

people in the United States are living with narcolepsy

Types of narcolepsy

There are two types of narcolepsy: narcolepsy type 1 and narcolepsy type 2.
Circle with Type 1 inside

Narcolepsy with cataplexy is sometimes called narcolepsy type 1

Circle with Type 2 inside

Narcolepsy without cataplexy is sometimes called narcolepsy type 2

People may experience excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) and cataplexy in different ways


What can EDS feel like?

People living with narcolepsy may experience their EDS in different ways, like:

  • Icon depicting excessive daytime sleepiness at a desk reading a book
    Fighting to stay awake

    People may fight to stay awake and alert throughout the day or fall asleep without warning.

  • Alarm clock icon
    Feeling sleepy soon after waking up

    Some people may wake up feeling somewhat refreshed but feel sleepy again in a few hours.

  • Icon depicting excessive daytime sleepiness while watching television
    Feeling sleepy in less active situations

    People may feel especially sleepy in situations that require no active participation, such as watching TV or riding in a car.

Download a questionnaire to assess your EDS so you can talk with your healthcare provider about how your symptoms may be affecting you. Assess your EDS


What can cataplexy feel like?

Cataplexy can cause people with narcolepsy to collapse completely but more often occurs in specific areas of the body, like:

Icon depicting knees buckling because of cataplexy

Knees buckling

Icon depicting hand weakness because of cataplexy

Hand weakness(dropping objects)

Icon depicting weakness in the jaw because of cataplexy

Jaw sagging

People may experience cataplexy in different ways, like:

  • Muscle weakness or heaviness
  • Going slack-jawed
  • "Spells" of muscle weakness
  • Losing muscle control
  • Slurred speech
  • Clumsiness
  • Drooping of the head, face, or eyelids
  • Loss of grip or dropping things
It's not always obvious to people that these experiences of cataplexy are related to narcolepsy.
Download a questionnaire to help you understand if you could be experiencing cataplexy and talk with your healthcare provider about your experiences and how they may be affecting you.Understand your cataplexy

Narcolepsy shouldn’t
stop you from living
your life

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Chris, a real person with narcolepsy with cataplexy, sitting with friends outdoors

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