What is Narcolepsy?
posted: Jul. 14, 2017.
Are you worried that your sudden bouts of sleepiness could actually be narcolepsy?
Do you or someone you love suddenly fall asleep throughout the day, usually in the midst of your daily routine? Are you worried that these sudden attacks of sleep could be something more serious? Our Portland and Astoria, OR, sleep medicine doctors - Dr. Gerald Rich, Dr. Radhika Breaden and Dr. Gregory Clark - are here to provide a little insight into the signs and symptoms of narcolepsy.
What is narcolepsy?
This neurological condition impairs how your brain regulates sleep and wakefulness. Those who suffer from narcolepsy are prone to extreme bouts of sleepiness and will often fall asleep suddenly throughout the day. This can happen at any time. You may suddenly find yourself asleep at your desk or you may find yourself prone to these attacks while eating or exercising.
What are the symptoms?
One of the telltale signs of narcolepsy is extreme fatigue during the day. This symptom is one of the most common symptoms of narcolepsy. You may feel sleepy without warning. You may fall asleep for only a few seconds or a few minutes throughout the day. You may find it difficult to concentrate or you may feel like you’re in a brain fog right before your narcoleptic attacks.
You may also experience sleep paralysis, in which you are unable to move or talk for a few seconds before falling asleep or when first waking up. Even though your body may still be in REM sleep, you will still know that you are awake but unable to move or speak. This can often be unnerving to some and may cause them to come into our office for help.
Narcoleptics may also have trouble sleeping at night. While they are prone to sudden sleep sessions during the day, this can lead to interrupted sleep at night. As a result, you may suffer from insomnia or find yourself waking up several times a night.
What are my treatment options?
Even though there is no cure for narcolepsy, your symptoms can easily be managed through lifestyle changes and medications. Our Portland and Astoria, OR, sleep specialists may prescribe stimulants or antidepressants. Certain lifestyle modifications include:
- Staying away from caffeine or alcohol a few hours before bedtime
- Maintaining the same sleep schedule every night
- Getting regular physical activity
- Taking small naps during the day, as needed
- Finding a support group
Pacific Sleep Program is helping those in Portland and Astoria, OR, get a better night’s sleep. Isn’t it time you got the quality, restorative sleep you’ve been looking for? We are here to help.