Narcolepsy Infographic: What Is Narcolepsy?

by julie on July 11, 2013

I’m so excited to release my narcolepsy infographic! This is the FIRST infographic dedicated to raising awareness about narcolepsy. Please share!

Unveiling Narcolepsy Infographic Video:

Narcolepsy Infographic:

Thank you to my amazing graphic designer, Anthony Nesossis.  Thank you to Alex Withrow for his pro video production!  Read about the making of the infographic here.

I made this to share this! Please share via social media, blogs, etc.
Let’s get the word out about narcolepsy today.  DOWNLOAD/SAVE FILE

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Alex Withrow July 11, 2013 at 9:53 pm

LOVE this infographic. You and Anthony did an amazing job putting it together. Clean, informative, sharp. Love it!


julie July 11, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Thank you, Alex! I <3 the infographic too. Thanks for supporting me through this process.


Lloyd July 12, 2013 at 12:50 am

Hey Julie! I love it. We have an infographic for Idiopathic Hypersomnia and it really seems to help the “casual viewer” grasp the concept of these diseases much more quickly than a page of text.

In case you’re interested, this is what the IH one looks like:



julie July 12, 2013 at 5:18 am

Hi Lloyd, Thank you for your comment. In my research I came across the IH infographic. LOVE it! Thanks again, Julie


Kathleen Randell July 12, 2013 at 3:18 am

Awesome! So creative and eye catching. Straight to the point, easy to understand and memorable. Thanks for all you do!


julie July 12, 2013 at 5:19 am

Thank you so much for your kind comment, Kathleen! I’m so glad you find it easy to understand and memorable.


Charlie July 12, 2013 at 3:52 am

This is a really great infographic! I have one question, though (really just clarifying for me). I thought that recent research points to N being an autoimmune disorder? Is it still classified as neurological because those are the cells targeted by the immune response and the resulting symptoms are neurological in nature? Sometimes I don’t know what to tell people when they ask because I keep seeing N referred to as one or the other.


julie July 12, 2013 at 5:24 am

Hi Charlie, Thank you for your comment. Yes, your understanding is on-point! Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder, and it is believed to be autoimmune with the autoimmune attack leading to the neurological deterioration. I believe at this point you can safely say it’s both neurologial and autoimmune. 🙂 Cheers, Julie


Julia July 17, 2013 at 12:28 am

It is a neurological disease (not a mental or psychological one, however) because research has shown there is a degeneration of hypocretin-producing neurons in the brain of a narcoleptic person relative to the brain of healthy individual. Hypocretin is a neuropeptide that helps controls wakefulness and appetite.

Although studies have led researchers to believe that narcolepsy may be autoimmune, this theory has NOT been proven to be correct as narcolepsy doesn’t meet all of the criteria for an autoimmune disease. For example, autoimmune diseases trigger the production of particular autoantibodies or cross-reactive T cells, so for narcolepsy to be autoimmune, an autoantibody would have to be identified. No specific hypocretin autoantibody or T cell has been found; thus, narcolepsy cannot be classified as an autoimmune disease at this point in time.

In short, narcolepsy will always be considered a neurological disease, but whether or not it is also an autoimmune disease has yet to be elucidated. I hope this helps!



julie July 21, 2013 at 4:49 am

Thank you so much for this awesome explaination, Julia!


Ian July 12, 2013 at 8:12 pm

The infographic is great – I wasn’t aware that the fluttering eyelid thing was common for cataplexy (not that I get to talk to many other people with cataplexy). One thing that helped me out (with the getting diagnosed) is to find out that cataplexy isn’t always a total fall on the floor thing (sometimes its partial). One video at my sleep doctors office went a long way towards my acceptance of my condition.


julie July 12, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Hi Ian, I”m so glad that you like the infographic. Yes, partial cataplexy can be any of those smaller things listed in yellow – fluttering eyelids, slackened jaw, knee buckling, etc. I’m so glad you are on your way towards acceptance. You are overcoming adversity and I’m cheering for you! Big smiles, Julie


Ian July 13, 2013 at 9:54 pm

I don’t know if this will help other people with cataplexy but I took tumbling & gymnastics in college and I’ve found that when I’m collapsing I have a very short window to adjust my position. I’ve wondered if something like stunt-person training on mats could help others with cataplexy avoid some injuries. I’ve fallen due to cataplexy hundreds of times and avoided major injuries. Paying a lot of attention to surroundings helps too. Btw when you are already down is a great time to get in that laugh. I make it a practice to let coworkers and people i spend much times with know so they can take appropriate action – make sure i can breath, etc. Attempt at big smile back, Ian


julie July 15, 2013 at 2:06 am

That’s a really interesting idea, Ian! I like it.


Lisa July 12, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Perfect representation to inform the public. Crucial details, excellent graphics, and basic language… thanks to you, Julie, and your graphic designer, Anthony. Will share this over and over!


julie July 12, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Thank you so much, Lisa! This positive feedback means the world to me. Thanks for spreading the word! 🙂


Tony July 13, 2013 at 2:39 am

Julie –

Thanks! Love the Infographic but am so graphically-challenged I cannot get the whole thing to print out — I keep getting just the first page. Any suggestions?

Appreciate all you are doing!



julie July 13, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Hi Tony,
Perhaps try printing from this link:
Hope this works – sorry I’m not too technically inclined either! So glad you like the infographic.
Many thanks,


Rita Rudloff July 13, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Julie: Very simple and informative. Since I retired, I have gotten off the meds and am having more cataplexy episodes I have to explain. By sharing this, it should help a lot of my family and friends understand what is happening with me. Thanks.


julie July 13, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Hi Rita, I’m so sorry to hear your cataplexy has been worse lately. I’m glad the infographic will help explain this to your loved ones. Also, my memoir may be helpful for them to read. All my best, Julie


Joyce Gray November 12, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Dear Julie,
I would love to get a larger poster of the narcolepsy infographic to post in the sleep center. Can you tell me if that is possible? Thanks


littleloire November 14, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Hey, actually I’m so far away from you because I’m french, so I live in Paris. But when I discovered your website, it has made me so happy to see that everywhere in that wild world peoples like you where fighting to help humanity openning there damn mind! :p
Thank you to bring hope to narcoleptique even at the end of the world, that’q quite amazing and so soothing and comforting.

PS: I deeply apologize for all the misspellings, I’m trying to do my best!!


Mary B. February 3, 2014 at 10:53 pm

I want to thank you for this information my daughter has Narcolepsy & Cataplexsy I have been looking and seeking info for myself she is grown and married but that does not stop me from trying to help her and understand it.
Thanks a bunch,
Mary B.


julie coffey March 18, 2014 at 4:25 am

Julie I haveN narcolepsy. I read your article Sleeps Choice Living with narcolepsy.a We are two peas in a pod. I am having trouble with my family they are in denial. I educate them and they still hold resentments toward me. I can no longer work. I tried over end over again to work I was a in home aid. am now applying for disability. Narcolepsy is a handicap, but I live one day at a time.


Amanda K. April 14, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Hi Julie,

I not only have Narcolepsy with Cataplexy, but I also have the opportunity to research Narcolepsy with Cataplexy for my “First Year Seminar” class, Neurological Disorders, at Wake Forest University! I would love to put some of the statistics you mentioned in the infographic in my pape; however, I need to know where you got your sources from! If you wouldn’t mind sending those to me via e-mail, it would be much appreciated! Thank you for all you do in spreading awareness and educating those who have never heard of Narcolepsy!


Carol March 21, 2015 at 3:00 am

Love it! I had planned to make a visual map of info with links for myself but an info graphic for my friends and family. I plan to make one that includes the gamut of sleep problems that I have that stem with Narcolepsy.


Cathryn September 14, 2015 at 10:48 pm

Thank you! I am 46, and for the first time i can say, “I am NOT lazy, dopy, going mad, stupid etc etc etc. Now i can step forward, with my head up..knowing for sure that i am NOT lazy, going mad, stupid etc. I am so releaved and not alone. Thank you


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