Alternative treatments for narcolepsy
Why Medication didn’t work for me
Please let me stress this: I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on the internet. So please don’t follow my personal story as a prescription for yourself. I’m only here to provide insight and inspiration, a perhaps some advice you wouldn’t think of on your own.
After I was officially diagnosed with narcolepsy I was prescribed Modafinil. It had terrible side effects on me from the first dose. The drug gave me high anxiety, heart palpitations, and worst of all not much energy. I barely felt the alertness it was designed to give me. My time using Modafinil lasted just a few months. After ditching Nuvigil I switched over to Provigil, then Adderall. Traditional medications simply weren’t the answer for me. I’ve always been highly sensitive to stimulants and these medications were no exception.
These experiences led me to a path of self-discovery for seeking alternative treatments for narcolepsy.
How I define alternative treatments for narcolepsy
I define “alternative treatments for narcolepsy” as anything that is outside of what a traditional western medicine doctor will prescribe you for this sleeping disorder. For simplicity sake, I’ll categorize this as anything that is not medication or a regimented sleep schedule.
Number one alternative treatment for me currently
Diet has been HANDS DOWN the most impactful form of alternative treatment that I use in order to suppress the symptoms of my EDS. I’ll shout it from the mountain tops if I have to 🙂 Change your diet and you’ll change your life.
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The second best form of treatment
I don’t know about you, but I have noticed over the years that my ability to manage my stress ties in directly with my ability to manage my narcolepsy. When I was in one of the most stressful periods of my life (quitting my family job) I could barely control my narcolepsy. Getting out of bed was even a challenge. Out of desperation, I turned to meditation.
New to meditation? Try out these two free guided apps below to get started:
In addition to vipassana meditation, I practice power vinyasa yoga. I would highly recommend adding some form of meditation to your daily habits to help deal with stress. It’s been a lifesaver.
List of alternative treatments I have tried
I have found cryotherapy as an alternative treatment for narcolepsy to be incredibly beneficial. Since starting cryotherapy about two months ago I have had more energy throughout the day and have had a more consistent sleep at night.
FAQ about Cryotherapy:
What is whole-body cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy is the process of using extreme cold, usually in the form of liquid nitrogen, for health benefits.
What should you expect from a cryotherapy session?
The effects of cryotherapy can range for every person, typically it depends on how your body reacts to the cold. I personally feel an increase of alertness, become more flexible, and have seen a reduction of inflammation within the first couple of hours. Some people it the next day after sleeping.
What can Cryotherapy be used for?
- Degenerative Disease of spine and joints
- Can burn anywhere from 500-800 calories per visit
- Auto-immune disorders
- Recovering from Injury
- Eliminates Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
- Repair from exercise
- And more
Why do you use cryotherapy as one of your alternative treatments for narcolepsy?
Like I’ve mentioned before it’s had such a profound impact on my alertness. I’m incredibly grateful for this treatment and plan on using it for a while.
Cold Therapy Exposure
In other words…cold showers! Cold showers accomplish a couple of things that can help a PWN. First, it’s a great way to “shock” your body in the morning into a state of alertness that isn’t a stimulant. I found that using cold showers as a wakefulness method to be extremely impactful. Best of all, there’s no crash, unlike coffee. Second, it reduces inflammation. Best of all: it’s free!
I highly recommend adding cold showers (even if it’s just 30 seconds) to your daily routine.
I experimented with hypnotherapy as another tool to help deal with stress. Although I enjoyed it, I personally don’t feel like it was worth the cost. Don’t let that deter you! Perhaps this form of narcolepsy therapy will work wonders for you.
I tried acupuncture as a form of general treatment plus stress management. I found it to be impactful, but akin to hypnotherapy, I couldn’t justify the cost vs. benefit.
Optimizing Sleep Hygiene for Narcolepsy
What does your bedroom look like? Do you use blackout curtains? Is it a room that provides you with relaxation and not stress?
Of all elements of sleep hygiene, I’ve found that finding the right mattress for yourself to be one the most impactful. My favorite company is Casper Mattress. Highly recommend them.
If you have read a couple articles on this website you’ll notice a trend. I talk about diet A LOT. That’s because changing my diet has resulted in the greatest reduction of my symptoms bar none. There is no other form of treatment, traditional or alternative, that has impacted me the same way a low sugar diet has. If you would like more information either enter your email in the collector above or visit this page.
Neural feedback therapy
I played around with a type of therapy called neural feedback. The therapy was impactful but I didn’t feel as though it had a lasting impact. If you are at all interested don’t hesitate to check it out.
Meditation has worked WONDERS for me. I have been practicing a type of meditation called vipassana for about 2 years now. Not only does it help me manage my stress, but it also helps my focus and my overall energy levels. If you’re a beginner to meditation try using one of these two apps:
*Disclaimer* Plant Medicines (ayahuasca, ibogaine, San Pedro etc.) are no laughing matter. If interested in experimenting with these types of treatments literally approach it like you would if you were to choose a brain surgeon. The consequences are incredibly high, even death in some cases.
On top of meditation, I sought out any type of “eastern medicine” I could get my hands on. I personally experimented with ayahuasca back in 2013. I won’t get into details here but to summarize: I found no benefit at all with using this type of treatment.
Alternative treatments for Narcolepsy I would suggest
Out of all the types of alternative treatments for narcolepsy, I would recommend the following:
- Low Sugar Diet
- Cold exposure therapy: Cryotherapy or Cold Showers.
- Stress management via meditation
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you purchase the item via the links. I recommend only products and companies I use or have reviewed and the income goes to keeping the site ad-free.