Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that can easily affect your daily life. Individuals with narcolepsy can have difficulties at work, school, and in other social environments. It can also increase your risk of accident or injury while driving or when you’re outside the home.
Narcolepsy is a relatively rare sleep disorder, but it still affects many people. If you’re suffering from narcolepsy, it helps to understand the symptoms, how it affects your sleep, and measures you can take to manage your symptoms. In this article, we’ll talk about narcolepsy and ways you can reduce its impact on your sleep habits.
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that causes disruptions in your sleep-wake cycle. This can cause you to experience a symptom known as excessive daytime sleepiness, or EDS. EDS happens because your brain has trouble maintaining waking and sleep states. It’s common for an individual with narcolepsy to accidentally nod off during the day.
Narcolepsy can also cause irregular REM sleep patterns. In most people, sleep stages occur sequentially. First, you’re awake, then you enter light sleep, deep sleep, and finally REM. For those with narcolepsy, REM sleep isn’t always the final stage, and it can occur even before the light and deep sleep stages. These abnormal sleep patterns can prevent those with narcolepsy from getting the benefits of full sleep cycles.
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder. The primary symptoms and issues it causes are sleep-related.
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that is not yet fully explained by science. There are two types of narcolepsy, Narcolepsy type 1 (NT1) and Narcolepsy type 2 (NT2). We currently understand more about type 1 and what causes it. Let’s take a look at both types and the current understanding we have for what causes them.
Narcolepsy is a fairly rare sleep disorder with several distinctive symptoms. You may have narcolepsy if you’re experiencing the following issues.
Diagnosis of narcolepsy can be a fairly extensive process. It’s a rare condition, so doctors won’t want to mistakenly attribute symptoms to narcolepsy if it could be something else.
It’s best to seek out a specialist when diagnosing narcolepsy, as this will give you the best chance of making sure that you're diagnosed correctly. Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and your medical history. They’ll ask you about your sleep habits, and they may also consult anyone you live with to learn more about how your symptoms manifest.
Various tests will likely be conducted. These tests include the Epworth Sleepiness Scale and a polysomnography. The Epworth Sleepiness Scale is subjective and is communicated by the patient. A polysomnography test is more involved and monitors brain and body activity. This test is a type of sleep study and may require overnight monitoring. A multiple sleep latency test can also be conducted to monitor symptoms of sleepiness. This test asks the individual to fall asleep at five different times. Patients with narcolepsy are often able to fall asleep easily at these requests and quickly enter REM, which can be detected by the polysomnography sensors.
In some cases, a cerebrospinal fluid test may be conducted. This test looks at your hypocretin neuron levels and requires a spinal tap or lumbar puncture. This test can help determine the type of narcolepsy you have as well.
For a true narcolepsy diagnosis, excessive daytime sleepiness must be persistent for at least three months. The doctor will then attempt to determine if you have NT1 or NT2. Those with low hypocretin levels or symptoms of cataplexy along with consistent test results from the multiple sleep latency test may be diagnosed with NT1. NT2 is diagnosed if a patient meets similar criteria but they don’t have cataplexy or low hypocretin levels.
There is no cure for narcolepsy as of now, but treatment can make life safer for patients while also reducing their symptoms and adding to their quality of life.
Regardless of what type of narcolepsy you have, treatments are going to be fairly similar. There are lifestyle changes and medications that may be effective at providing symptom relief and enhancing overall quality of life. NT1 patients may take medications for cataplexy, whereas this is unnecessary for NT2 patients.
Talk to your doctor about which treatment options will be the best for you. All medications should be prescribed by your doctor and progress should be monitored by them as well. With that being said, there are some common treatments for people with NT1 and NT2.
Lifestyle changes don’t require medication and are generally recommended to anyone suffering from narcolepsy. These modifications may include:
Medications should only be prescribed by your doctor. Some medications may have side effects, so make sure to talk to your physician about the risk factors. Not all medications will work for you, and you may have to try different medications to find one that relieves symptoms while also avoiding side effects.
Medications that your doctor may prescribe include:
When you have a sleep disorder, it helps you have good sleep hygiene.
Here are some things you can try to help manage your sleep disorder:
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When you choose Sleep Reset, you’ll get your own personalized sleep program tailored to your specific sleep concerns, along with a dedicated sleep coach. You also get sleep tracking, access to our app, and much more. We give you all the tools and help you need to get your sleep on the right track
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