Narcolepsy affects as many as 200,000 Americans…fewer than 50,000 are diagnosed
What Is Narcolepsy?
Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness and episodes of sudden daytime sleeping (sleep attacks) that occur without warning. People with narcolepsy find it difficult to stay awake for long periods of time, regardless of the circumstances. It can be diagnosed by a health care provider or a Sleep Specialist.
Symptoms of Narcolepsy
You may have one or more of the following:
- Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) – When you want to sleep all day long.
- Sleep attacks – The uncontrollable urge to sleep that occurs without warning.
- Cataplexy – A sudden loss of muscle control often triggered by stress, or by emotions such as laughter, fear or anger.
- Sleep Paralysis – Being unable to talk or move for a short time. It usually occurs when a person is falling asleep or waking up.
- Hypnogogic hallucinations – Certain images, sensations or sounds that transpire when a person is falling asleep or waking up.
- Other symptoms – Insomnia, fatigue, poor memory or depression; Circadian rhythm disorder – a shift in the body`s normal 24-hour activity cycle.
REM Sleep and Narcolepsy
Rapid Eye Movement (REM) is the dreaming portion of sleep. Usually, REM sleep begins after the first 90 minutes. For people with narcolepsy, REM sleep begins much sooner, making dreaming so vivid, it seems real.
Seeking treatment for narcolepsy will certainly help reduce your symptoms. Work with your health care provider to create a plan that’s best for you. Learning healthy habits, taking necessary medications and getting support from your family and friends will also help you cope with narcolepsy at home and at work.
Talk To Your Health Care Provider
- Describe your sleeping problems to your health care provider.
- Be prepared to answer questions about your medical and family questions about your medical and family history.
- Try to keep a daily sleep diary for a week or two. Record times when you fall asleep and wake up. Also write down any symptoms you notice.
- Our sleep study can help diagnose narcolepsy.
Have a sleep study conducted at one of our comfortable Diagnostic Centers! There, sensors will be placed on your head and body and your sleep will be monitored. The results will help our physician or your health care provider diagnose narcolepsy…then your treatment can be planned.
Your health care provider can help you find the medication that works best for you and will also discuss any possible side effects. Some medications help keep you alert during the day while others are used to treat symptoms, such as sleep paralysis or cataplexy.
Living with Narcolepsy
Symptoms of narcolepsy may affect your daily life, but you can learn ways to cope, at home, work or school:
- Stress, anxiety or body tension may keep you awake at night. To reduce stress, do things you enjoy before bedtime. Find a way to relax that works for you. Try a warm bath, meditation, or yoga.
- Teach your family and friends about narcolepsy and your special needs.
- Join a narcolepsy support group, so you can talk about your sleep problem and share ideas about coping with your symptoms.
- Report changes in your symptoms and any medication side effects to your health care provider.
- If you work, try to adjust your schedule so you can take short naps during the day.
- At school – tell your teacher or school nurse about your special needs. The school may allow changes in your schedule.
- If you become drowsy when driving, pull over to a safe place and take a nap.
Call us TODAY! We can diagnose and help you understand Narcolepsy.