One of my first jobs was to keep a lookout for lions. There are some occupations that are not suitable for someone with untreated narcolepsy and this is probably one of them. I was 22, a recent zoology graduate studying meerkats in the Kalahari desert in South Africa. We worked in pairs, one of us… Read more

Serotonin neurons in the brain inhibit cataplexy by reducing activity in the amygdala, an international research team has discovered. Cataplexy is a sudden short term episode of muscle weakness accompanied by full conscious awareness. It is typically triggered by a sudden emotional excitement of positive valence such as laughter. A new study, led by researchers… Read more

Perhaps because we all need sleep, we have an enduring interest in tales of people who sleep continuously or cannot stay awake – popular characters such as Sleeping Beauty and Rip Van Winkle are just two examples. Totally somnolent characters in films, such as Rat Race (2001), Moulin Rouge! (2001) or Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo… Read more

Adults with an elevated need for sleep have a substance in their cerebrospinal fluid that makes them want to doze off. This disabling sleep disorder called “primary hypersomnia” is separate from better-known conditions such as sleep apnea or narcolepsy. People with the condition regularly sleep more than 70 hours per week and have difficulties awakening… Read more