What is Narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is a neurological sleeping disorder in which human brain loses the ability of controlling sleeping and waking up cycle. It has become widely common which could be proved by the fact that amongst every 2000 people, 1 suffers from narcolepsy. In America, approximately 200,000 people are victim of this disorder. People with narcolepsy experience dizziness and short sleeping episodes during day in which they fall asleep unintentionally. There is no regular pattern of sleeping attacks rather they occur randomly at any time. Even when a person is highly active and energetic, for example, having conversation, engaged in office meeting or even driving, he is prone to sleep attacks.

What are Symptoms of Narcolepsy?

  • Hallucinations: A person having narcolepsy can often be exposed to hallucinations which are highly intense and can be dangerous to a frightening level. These are quite frequent and unambiguous. Content, one goes through, is often visual but sometimes few other senses may also become involved. Hallucinations occur either when a person is waking up from sleep (hypnopompic) or is asleep (Hypnogogic).
  • Sleep Paralysis: As the name suggests, sleep paralysis is a condition accompanied with an inability to move or speak either when a person is about to sleep or about to wake up. When sleep paralysis occurs, person is completely aware of his/her situation and knows what is happening around but can neither speak nor move for a certain time of period. Basically, voluntary muscles face paralysis and as a result whole body shows impact. Sleep paralysislasts for few seconds and leaves no permanent side effect.
  • Disturbed Nocturnal Sleep: Another symptom is disturbed nocturnal sleep which is commonly called as fragmented sleep. Not only the people suffering from narcolepsy feel sleepy during day but they also face difficulty in having a smooth and continuous sleep at night. They sleep for some time and then stay up for different intervals. Most of the times, such people wake up for almost 4 to 5 times comprising of 10 to 20 minutes. This symptomoccurs due to many reasons which include periodic limb movement and insomnia.

How Narcolepsy can be Treated?

Unfortunately, there is no direct cure for narcolepsy. However, this should not leave you in a state of worry because there are certain behavioral treatments as well as therapies which help patients a lot and make them capable of leading normal lives. Doctors and therapists mainly focus on controlling the symptoms which, in return, control narcolepsy and its intensity and frequency. Moreover, patients also need to bring certain changes in their lifestyle along with eating and drinking patterns. For example, a person who is suffering from narcolepsy must avoid intake of nicotine, caffeine, drugs and alcohol. He/she must also take a break from heavy meals. It is important for the patient to regulate his/her diet plan as well as daily naps which should not be more than 10 to 15 minutes. Going for a normal exercise on daily basis also produce far better results.