Narcolepsy is a condition that causes sleep-wake cycles to be disrupted. Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) is the predominant symptom, which arises when the brain is unable to control wakefulness and sleep properly.
Normal sleep occurs in phases, with rapid eye movement (REM) sleep happening in the last stage, which normally occurs an hour or more after falling asleep. REM sleep is irregular in narcolepsy, and it typically starts minutes after falling asleep, which is significantly earlier than usual.
Because of alterations in the brain that impair how sleep functions, REM occurs fast in patients with narcolepsy. Daytime drowsiness and other narcolepsy symptoms are also caused by these disruptions.
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