What It’s Like to Live With Narcolepsy
Narcolepsy is a sleep condition characterized by a deficiency of the chemical hypocretin in the brain, which controls sleeping and waking cycles. This leads to symptoms such as excessive sleepiness, frequent attacks of sleepiness or nodding off, and even a type of muscle paralysis called cataplexy. Narcolepsy is often misunderstood and under-diagnosed, so if you think you may be experiencing its effects, it’s important to visit a sleep center to undergo testing.
Those who suffer from narcolepsy describe the tiredness they feel on a normal basis as excessive. They feel as though they have not slept for days even when they have had a full night’s sleep. Contrary to popular belief, most narcoleptics do not fall asleep while eating or talking, but they may nod off while waiting for a traffic light to change or while working at a computer.
Individuals who are narcoleptic may experience “attacks” of sleepiness when experiencing strong emotions, such as laughter, happiness, or sadness. In some cases, narcolepsy is accompanied by cataplexy, which results in muscle paralysis and falling. Other symptoms of narcoleptic attacks include watery eyes, difficulty breathing through the nose, and uncontrollable yawning.
The Need for Medication and Naps
It is difficult for people who have narcolepsy to get a good night’s rest. They must take medication to fall asleep at night and still require two or more short naps during the day. Waking up in the morning may be excessively difficult, making it difficult to hold a job with “normal” working hours. Many people with this sleep condition find that working a job that allows them the flexibility to wake, sleep, and nap when needed is ideal.
Narcoleptics have described the diagnosis of their condition as “freeing,” allowing them to understand what is happening to them and why. If you suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, visit the Zeeba Sleep Center of Las Vegas for sleep testing and diagnosis. Call us at (702) 242-1562 or visit us on the Web to find out more about how we can help you get a restful night’s sleep.