Narcolepsy: What You Need To Know About This Sleep Disorder

Narcolepsy is one of the sleeping disorders that might affect the daily routine of a person

Narcolepsy is a sleeping disorder that is described as a chronic neurological disorder that affects the brain’s ability to control sleep-wake cycles.

It is normal for people to sleep at night and wake up when the morning comes. This might change because of certain situations. However, there is a condition that makes a person so sleepy even during the day that can be considered not normal already.

People who have this condition feel rested after waking, based on the article in the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. However, they then feel very sleepy throughout much of the day. They usually also get uneven and interrupted sleep at night.

Encore Research Group


Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) – It is when a person has persistent sleepiness, regardless of how much sleep he or she gets at night. This is also called a “sleep attack” which is an overwhelming sense of sleepiness that comes quickly.  

Cataplexy – This may appear weeks or even years after the onset of EDS and this happens when sudden loss of muscle tone while a person is awake occurs and this leads to weakness and a loss of voluntary muscle control.

Sleep Paralysis – This is described as the inability to move or speak while falling asleep or waking up and this usually lasts only a few seconds or minutes.

Hallucinations – It is when vivid and sometimes frightening images can accompany sleep paralysis. This may happen if a person is awake or asleep.

Who is most likely to have Narcolepsy?

Autoimmune disorders – Experts believe that the immune system of the body selectively attacks the hypocretin-containing brain cells because of a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The presence of cataplexy is often attributed to the loss of brain cells that produce hypocretin.

Family history – Ten (10) percent of individuals diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy have a close relative with similar symptoms.

Brain injuries – There are instances when a traumatic injury to parts of the brain is attributed to this sleep disorder. The injury could be in the portion that regulates wakefulness and REM sleep or from tumors and other diseases in the same regions.

Medicines and Lifestyle Changes

Certain medicines like Modafinil, Amphetamine-like stimulants, Antidepressants, Sodium oxybate, and Histamine 3 receptor antagonist/inverse agonist can be recommended by the doctor. However, it is also important to change the lifestyle of the person with Narcolepsy.

Here are the habits that you should apply to yourself:

  1. Take short naps.
  2. Maintain a regular sleep schedule.
  3. Avoid caffeine or alcohol before bed.
  4. Avoid smoking, especially at night.
  5. Exercise daily.
  6. Avoid large, heavy meals right before bedtime.
  7. Relax before bed.

Other sleep orders are Sleep Talking and Sleepwalking.

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