What is Narcolepsy?

The question we always get: What is Narcolepsy? Narcolepsy is a disorder involving extreme sleepiness or fatigue caused by a person’s inability to produce hypocretin/orexin inside their brain. View a full list of narcolepsy symptoms here. 

Here is a more clinical version of a definition: Narcolepsy is a chronic sleeping disorder an individual carries for life characterized by the brain’s lack of ability to control the sleep/wake cycle. The symptoms of Narcolepsy consist of excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), broken sleep cycles at night, and in some cases; cataplexy.

Sources: Web MD

*It’s estimated that Narcolepsy affects around 1 in every 2000 people.

Looking for more information on what is narcolepsy? Check out the links below. Or view the embedded video.

Narcolepsy Network

Harvard Medical School

Sleep Foundation

What is Narcolepsy?

New to this website? Let me start by introducing myself.

I’m Peter, the creator of this website: narcolepsy treatment by Narcolepsy Coach.  From Fall of 2010 to Spring 2012 I knew I had a problem with sleeping. Originally I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea, but after completing 5 sleep studies in the span of those 18 months I was finally diagnosed with Narcolepsy in June of 2012.

This disease has dramatically affected my life, to say the least.  The city I live in, the profession I chose, and my lifestyle have all been selected to work in synthesis with this disease.  I run this website to offer practical and practical tips to manage your narcolepsy better, on top of answering the question of what is narcolepsy.  If you want to read an in-depth version of my story please visit my about page here.

Resources

When I was first diagnosed I was hard pressed to find resources about narcolepsy was confused as to which ones to trust. Below is a summary of the best resources I found and continue to use. If you want a more comprehensive view of all the resources I have or use please check out my resources page.

Alleviate your symptoms with diet

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Website Resources

Let’s start with websites, shall we?  Below are my favorite websites for education, inspiration, and general information. It was a combination of these websites that led me to find out what is Narcolepsy.

Facebook Groups

Product Resources

Below is a simple list of the things I use every day in order to help with the symptoms of my narcolepsy. They’re a combination of products I use to keep my alertness up or products that help keep my cortisol levels raised during the day.

  • UV Light
  • Pre-workout Supplements (morning only)
  • Standing Desk
  • Kettlebell
  • Jump Rope

Common Symptoms for Narcolepsy

Excessive daytime sleepiness:  EDS consists of powerful levels of fatigue during the day coupled with irresistible urges to sleep. This affects your general level of alertness and will make you want to crave sleep throughout the day.

Fragmented Sleep: Fragmented sleep means that you wake up several times throughout the night as a result of narcolepsy.  Narcolepsy hinders your body’s natural ability to regulate sleep cycles.

Cataplexy: Cataplexy is a weakening of muscles and seizing of those muscles during moments of strong emotion. This can result in knees buckling, your face locking, and jaw weakening.

Sleep paralysis: Sleep paralysis is when you lack the ability to move or speak while you’re aware. This typically happens during the process of falling asleep or waking up.

How to be Diagnosed

Currently, there is only one confirmed or an agreed-upon way to be properly diagnosed with narcolepsy. That would be to take a multiple sleep latency test. MSLT’s Are done with a Polysomnography in an overnight sleep lab. Polysomnograms monitor your brain waves while sleeping. People with narcolepsy have altered brain wave cycles when compared to those with healthy sleep cycles. A sleep specialist can determine if you have this disorder by reading and diagnosing the results of this test. The MSLT conducts 5 separate nap tests to determine if you fall into the REM cycle in the middle of the day.

Feel free to use this tool to get an idea of how tired you are throughout the day > http://www.morethantired.com/narcolepsy-symptom-screener

It’s not a professional diagnosis but it may give you a baseline in a general understanding of where you lie and relative to normal sleep.

Finding a Sleep Specialist

Finding a sleep specialist that’s right for you typically comes down to two factors. 1. Who’s covered by your insurance and 2. proximity. First, consult with your insurance provider to get a list of preapproved specialist and then determine which one is right for you.

Disclaimer: I must mention that I am not a doctor nor do I play one on the internet. I have no medical training/background nor do I hold a degree in anything related to the healthcare field. 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.