Most people agree that any day can be made a little bit better by getting a good night’s sleep the night before. Good, restful sleep is vital to mental, physical, and emotional health. That’s why people are constantly on the search for tips and hacks to get better sleep. However, the solution isn’t an easy one for some, especially for people who suffer from sleep disorders. One of the better-known sleep disorders is narcolepsy, but the truth is that people know about it, but most don’t know what it is.
What Is It?
The Mayo Clinic describes narcolepsy as “sudden attacks of sleep” and persistent, overwhelming daytime drowsiness. Most people recognize it as a sleep disorder where the sufferer falls asleep randomly during the day. These “sleep attacks” are usually sudden, sometimes coupled with complete loss of muscle tone, and chronic. There are things that a person can do to ease the symptoms, but there is no cure.
What Causes It?
The exact cause isn’t known, but studies have shown a correlation between type 1 narcolepsy and deficient hypocretin levels. What we do know is that narcolepsy sleep patterns differ from standard sleep patterns. Specifically, regular sleep patterns consist of a state of non-REM sleep followed by Rem sleep. With narcolepsy, sufferers seem to skip the non-REM phase of sleep altogether or are only in it for a few moments.
What Are The Symptoms?
The most common is the experience of suddenly falling asleep, even in the middle of doing something. This is usually also paired with excessive drowsiness and a lack of focus throughout the day. Some individuals lose muscle tone in some or all areas of the body (called cataplexy), often during intense (usually happy) emotion periods. Additionally, sleep paralysis and hallucinations are also common symptoms of narcolepsy. People with narcolepsy also often have related sleep apnea, insomnia, and restless leg syndrome.
What Are The Dangers?
While narcolepsy is not a sign of laziness, people may interpret your lethargy as such. This can cause you to struggle in school and work. Some people with narcolepsy can continue to do the routine task they are engaged in while asleep if they do often enough (like driving or writing), but it is usually not done well (which can also reflect poorly at work). Since emotions can bring on cataplexy, some people learn to avoid emotional attachments like relationships. Finally, sleep attacks that occur when in potentially dangerous situations could lead to physical harm or death.
Sleepwell Is the Key to A Good Night’s Rest
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