Narcolepsy is a neurological condition that prevents the brain from regulating sleep patterns normally.
It is a condition that is quite evenly spread throughout people of both sexes and different races, and symptoms usually come on gradually during the teens or early twenties (although this can sometimes occur in early childhood or later life).
Narcolepsy is often portrayed in popular culture as a disorder that causes people to fall asleep suddenly without warning. You have probably seen people with narcolepsy in movies or TV shows falling over asleep on the street or headfirst into bowls of soup. However, this depiction is rife with flaws.
The reality is that narcolepsy has many symptoms (not just sudden sleep episodes) with varying degrees of severity, and all of them stem from the same core issue: the regulation of REM sleep.