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What is narcolepsy and how does it affect people

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 Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder called narcolepsy that causes excessive daytime tiredness.

An individual will go into the early phases of sleep, then the deeper sleep stages, in a typical sleep cycle. At this point, REM sleep starts. Reaching REM (Rapid eye movement ) sleep takes about 60 to 90 minutes. But in persons with narcolepsy, REM sleep starts within the first 15 minutes of the sleep cycle and continues throughout the day. Muscle paralysis and vivid dreams both happen during REM sleep.

A chronic neurological disease called narcolepsy results in fragmented sleep patterns and increased daytime tiredness along with aberrant REM sleep.

It also includes catalepsy, which is a brief episode of muscle weakness and tone that can cause the body to collapse. The severity of narcolepsy can range from mild to severe.

In extreme circumstances, it may have a negative effect on social activities, academic performance, employment prospects, and general health and well-being.

A person with narcolepsy may nod off at any time, including while speaking or operating a motor vehicle. The teenage years, the early 20s, or the early 30s are when symptoms first show. It affects females 50% more than males in the United States…

Narcolepsy types   

Narcolepsy comes in two primary varieties: type 1 and type 2.

Catalepsy and drowsiness are symptoms of type 1. Tests will reveal that a neurotransmitter called a hypocrite is absent in the patient. This could happen after an autoimmune disorder is brought on by an infection.

Narcolepsy type 2 is more characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness than by abrupt weakness.

When the hypothalamus is damaged by trauma or a tumor, secondary narcolepsy may ensue. This area of the brain has a role in sleep.

Narcolepsy Symptoms

Although extreme daytime drowsiness. As the main symptom of narcolepsy, it can also be accompanied. with catalepsy, hypnagogic hallucinations, and sleep paralysis. It may also interfere with sleep patterns at night. Omit, though, a person with narcolepsy sleeps the same number of hours. As someone without the disorder.

Excessive slumber during the day 

Narcoleptics experience a chronic sense of tiredness and have a. Propensity to nod asleep during the day, at inconvenient times.

  • They might also go through
  • Brain haze
  • Inadequate attention
  • Reduced energy
  • Memory problems
  • Exhaustion
  • A downbeat attitude

Hallucinations during hypnosis 

The intense, frightful sensory hallucinations known as. Hypnagogic hallucinations happen as you head to sleep. They might result from the REM sleep-induced mix of dreaming and waking.


Sudden muscle weakness affecting the face, neck, and knees is referred to as catalepsy. Some people may experience minor weakness, such as a head or jaw drop, while others do. may pass out completely. Although this weakness. only lasts for two minutes or less, it has the potential to cause falls and other mishaps. Strong emotions like surprise, amusement, or rage are triggers.

Hypnotic paralysis 

This is the incapacity to speak or move as you’re dozing off or waking up. A few seconds to many minutes can pass between episodes.

People will regain full movement and speech capabilities after the episode.


Although there is no cure for narcolepsy, lifestyle modifications and medical care may be beneficial.

These will be examined in further detail in the sections that follow.

Narcolepsy can be treated for tiredness in part by changing one’s behavior. 

All during the day, a person can take 15-20 minute naps.

To avoid sleepiness, a doctor may prescribe a central nervous. .system stimulant, but no medication. is likely to be 100% successful.

  • Modafinil,
  • Armodafinil,
  • Dexamphetamine,
  • Methylphenidate are some options.
  • Modafinil and armodafinil are the initial options.

The other medications are more established and more likely to develop a habit.

Along with other negative consequences, they can. cause agitation, anxiety, heart rhythm alterations, and other symptoms.

The Food and Drug Administration 

(FDA) has approved sodium oxybate for the treatment of cataplexy, and excessive daytime. sleepiness, and restless nights. It seldom ever interacts with other medications and has few negative effects. Antidepressant medications can aid in managing cataplexy but they. can also have side effects like high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat. As the patient’s symptoms evolve over time, the doctor may change the treatment.

For the quality of life

Narcolepsy can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. A doctor may recommend the following trusted Source options to help people manage these challenges:

  • gaining emotional support from loved ones
  • seeking mental health counseling
  • seeking help with obtaining medications and completing disability forms, if appropriate
  • educating oneself about how drugs and alcohol can impact narcolepsy

People should avoid any activity that could pose a health threat, such as using machinery or driving, until treatment is able to improve their condition.

Experiencing narcolepsy

The lifestyle advice given below by Trusted Source may be helpful:

  • snooze during the day.
  • Maintain a consistent sleep routine.
  • Observe any treatment regimen that your doctor advises.
  • Engage in daily exercise for at least 20 minutes.
  • Trusted Source, but refrain from working out 4–5 hours before going to bed.
  • Alcohol and caffeine should be avoided several hours before bed.
  • Smoking should be avoided, especially before bed.
  • Avoid eating large meals right before bed.
  • Make a point of unwinding before night, by taking a bath.
  • Make sure the bedroom is at a cozy temperature.
  • Drive by taking precautions.

Narcolepsy Causes

The precise reason is Trusted. Although the cause of narcolepsy is unknown, a lack of hypocretin, also known as orexin, is. most likely to blame. The brain needs this hormone to stay awake.

Narcolepsy sometimes runs in families and specific genetic characteristics may make it. It is more likely to develop. It most likely originates from a combination of genetics. Environmental factors, according to. the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center.

A neurotransmitter is a hypocretin. By influencing various clusters of brain neurons. It regulates whether a person is awake or asleep. Hypocretin is produced in the hypothalamus area. brain.

Hypocretin levels are low in persons with type 1 narcolepsy, but not in those with type 2. To stay awake, one needs hypocrisy.

The brain permits REM sleep characteristics to interfere with regular waking times when. it is not present. This causes both extreme daytime sleepiness and issues sleeping at night in narcoleptics. Narcolepsy can result from a brain. tumor, injury, or another illness that affects the brain.

Diagnosis of Narcolepsy

Doctors may misdiagnose narcolepsy. This is due to the fact that it. resembles other conditions, like:

  • A psychological condition
  • Nap apnea
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • In actuality, confirming a diagnosis can take 5–10 years.

The following steps will help the doctor decide whether a patient has narcolepsy:

  • Count all your medical and sleeping history
  • Make a physical assessment
  • Carry out sleep research using techniques like. polysomnography and the many sleep latency tests.

Narcolepsy diagnoses can be strengthened with the aid of sleep investigations.

In a sleep center, a person will undergo polysomnography. Overnight, they will snooze at the clinic while a device tracks their slumber habits.

A few hours following the polysomnography will be the time for the many sleep latency tests.


The illness of narcolepsy is now incurable, but taking a prescription. medicine and changing some lifestyle behaviors can help a person manage it and stay safe.

Researchers are examining how the illness may influence genetics. and other variables, and it is hoped that they will develop more potent remedies. People can stay current with the most. recent advancements with the help of organizations like WUN. By taking part in research programs, they invite individuals to assist in the search for a cure.


Q1. What is a narcoleptic person? 

A long-term neurological condition called narcolepsy interferes. with the brain’s capacity to regulate sleep-wake cycles.

Narcoleptics may feel rested when they first wake up but then. experience extreme sleepiness for the majority of the day.

Q2. What are the 5 signs of narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy has five primary symptoms that are together referred to as CHESS (Cataplexy, Hallucinations, Excessive daytime sleepiness, Sleep paralysis, and Sleep disruption).

Although excessive daytime sleepiness is a common symptom of narcolepsy, not every patient will have all five symptoms.

Q3. What are the causes of narcolepsy?

It is believed that a brain chemical called hypocretin, also known as orexin, which controls sleep, is absent in many cases of narcolepsy.

The immune system’s erroneous attack on the brain regions that make hypocretin is assumed to be the cause of the deficit.

Q4. What are the 5 types of sleep disorders?

There are therapies for the five most widespread sleep disorders. that you can discuss with your patients, starting with.

  • insomnia.
  • Apneic sleep.
  • Narcolepsy.
  • Leg trembling syndrome.
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, among others. making hypocretin is assumed to be the cause of the deficit.

Q5.What drugs can cause narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy Caused by Drug Abuse

  • Steroid drugs, such as prednisone.
  • Diet tablets.
  • Medications for the treatment of hypertension, such as beta. blockers.oral contraceptives, which contain hormones.
  • Stimulant drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
  • Many antidepressants.

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