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8 Things You Didn't Know About Narcolepsy

People often assume narcolepsy to be associated with laziness, and think that it's a privilege to be able to fall asleep at any given time.

8 Things You Didn

Narcolepsy can cause parasomnia and induce vivid hallucinations

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Narcolepsy can cause our arms to go limp, our face to sag and slur speech
  2. People with narcolepsy do not sleep all the time
  3. You can do things without remembering them
As far as narcolepsy goes, people often assume it to be associated with laziness, and think that it's a privilege to be able to fall asleep at any given time. Both of these assumptions are far from the truth. Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder which is characterized by the inability to regulate sleep cycles. It includes extensive daytime sleepiness, which can occur at any given time. People with narcolepsy fall asleep at any time, even in mid-conversation. This raises a lot of questions in one's mind about the disease. Here we have compiled for you a list of 8 things you probably didn't know about narcolepsy.

1. Narcolepsy may include hallucinations

Narcolepsy can cause parasomnia and induce vivid hallucinations. These hallucinations are often frightening, dreamlike experiences. The hallucinations can be both auditory and visual, and can be difficult to overcome because of cataplexy

2. Cataplexy makes things harder


Cataplexy is characterized by a loss of muscle function. It can cause our arms to go limp or our face to sag and make our speech slurred. This temporary loss of muscle control can be brought on by sudden, strong emotional reactions such as laughter, anger, surprise, or fear. This can result in a sudden sleep attack that can last for a few seconds or minutes. This doesn't mean that the person is unconscious during it. The person is very aware of what goes on around him but cannot act on it, as it closely resembles sleep paralysis. It can also mimic epileptic seizures.

3. People with narcolepsy do not sleep all the time

It is a common misconception that people with narcolepsy sleep all the time. This is actually not the case. People with narcolepsy have very disturbed sleeping patterns and do not get sufficient amount of sleep. They have period of wakefulness at night and can even suffer from insomnia. Their night time sleep can even be fragmented with them waking up again and again.
 

narcolepsy

Photo Credit: iStock

4. The naps aren't a luxury

By now, you know that naps from narcolepsy are anything but luxury. They are a hindrance to the everyday activity of an individual. People with narcolepsy suffer from extreme exhaustion, unregulated sleep-wake cycles, hallucinations and sleep paralysis. The sleepiness they feel is uncontrollable and it does not mean they are being lazy. They feel as exhausted everyday as a person who hadn't had sleep for 2-3 days.

5. Narcolepsy can be easily misdiagnosed

People with narcolepsy can go undiagnosed for a number of years and can live their whole life without treatment. They can also be misdiagnosed with epilepsy, depression, and schizophrenia.

6. You can do things without remembering them

The sleep attacks can last for a few seconds or even a few hours. It can also prove to be fatal to the health if the sleep attacks occur while driving or other activities that puts the health of an individual at risk. Narcolepsy can even include episodes of talking and working in your sleep but not remembering it after you wake up.

7. Brain fog makes it harder

This constant feeling of sleepiness can cause a brain fog. The individual feels to be in a daze all day. It can also cause forgetfulness, lack of focus, difficulty thinking, blurred vision, and confusion.

8. It's not curable

Though the condition is not curable, treatment might make the condition bearable for a person. It is to be kept in mind that the disorder cannot be fixed with a change in diet and exercise. Doctors might prescribe medications to improve daytime alertness, nighttime sleep, and reduce cataplexy attacks.

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