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Narcolepsy-A Scary/Chronic Sleep Disorder. by oluwatobiloba

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Narcolepsy-A Scary/Chronic Sleep Disorder.
<div class="text-justify">

There are several sleep disorders but some are more chronic than others, one of the sleep disorders that fall within the category of chronic disorders is; **Narcolepsy**. Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder with a symptom of overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden sleep attacks, those with narcolepsy would most likely find it very difficult to stay awake for a long time regardless of the surrounding circumstances, which can cause serious disruption in daily routines. There are times when narcolepsy gets accompanied by loss of muscle tone, which can be triggered as a result of strong emotion and this type of narcolepsy is called type 1 narcolepsy, we will dive into details on this as we continue this write-up. 

<center>https://storage.needpix.com/rsynced_images/sleeping-woman-1489600175vGe.jpg
[needpix.com](https://www.needpix.com/photo/download/1501572/asleep-bed-bedroom-female-hair-hana-uherova-healthy-lying-morning-pillow-relax-relaxation-rest-resting-sleep-sleeping-white-woman-young-sleeping-woman)</center></div>

Narcolepsy is an extremely chronic neurological disorder affecting the ability of the brain to control the cycle of sleep-wake, those who have this condition often feel well-rested after they wake up from sleep, but they feel really sleepy again all through the day. When engaged in normal sleep, there is a rapid eye movement sleep (REM) that happens after about 60-90 minutes, dreams happen during REM sleep, and the brain is responsible for keeping the muscles limp during this stage of sleep, this prevents people from acting out in their dreams. Those who frequently experience narcolepsy get into the stage of REM very quickly, most often within the first 15 minutes of sleep, also in this case, the muscle weakness or dreams activity of REM can happen during wakefulness or be absent during the period of sleep, this properly explains some of the experienced symptoms of narcolepsy. The dangerous side to this condition is, if left untreated, it would disrupt the social, psychological, and cognitive development of the body, creating the possibility of having it affect work, social and academic activities.

Narcolepsy, is not a gender-based thing, it can affect both the male and female gender equally, but the condition is often misdiagnosed with other types of conditions such as; emotional problems or psychiatric disorders, appropriately diagnosing narcolepsy as a condition, could take several years, as it is usually a lifelong problem. The symptoms of narcolepsy can improve over time, but they will never completely disappear, it also does not get worse as age increases. There are indications showing that someone has narcolepsy, so it will be good to run through the displayed symptoms;

### <center>The symptoms of narcolepsy.</center>

**Excessive daytime sleepiness(EDS)**: EDS is usually the most obvious sign showing the presence of narcolepsy, it is characterized by persistent sleep, in this case, the person just wants to get more sleep regardless of the long hours of sleep gotten at night, the sense of sleep is usually accompanied by an overwhelming feeling of sudden sleepy attack, even while carrying out an engaging activity.

**Cataplexy**: This is characterized by a sudden loss of muscle tone while the individual is awake resulting in weakness and inability to control voluntary muscles. Cataplexy is usually triggered by a sudden and strong emotion like; stress, fear, anger, and even excitement, the occurrence of cataplexy in those with narcolepsy, varies greatly amongst people because while some people would experience it just once in their lifetime, others will experience it on a daily basis and others, many times a day. 
In some cases of narcolepsy, cataplexy would be the first symptom to appear and it could be misdiagnosed as a seizure disorder.

The case of the attack could either be severe or mild, the attack is mild when there is a case of momentary sense of minor weakness in a little number of muscles like a slight droop of the eyelids. The most serious attack leads to a total collapse of the body, at this point those affected are usually unable to move, speak, or even keep their eyes open. Cataplexy differs from fainting or seizure disorders because even during the most serious episode of cataplexy crises, people still remain fully conscious. The loss of muscle tone that happens during cataplexy always looks like muscle paralysis which naturally occurs during REM sleep, this episode will only last for a few minutes and resolve almost immediately on its own, while this may appear scary to the relatives and friends of the patients, it is not really dangerous as long as, the patient finds a safe place to fall during the collapse.

<center>https://www.rxwellness.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/AdobeStock_30516812-1024x727.jpeg
[rxwellness.net](https://www.rxwellness.net/bad-sleepers-back-sleepers-side-sleepers/)</center>

**Sleep paralysis**: This is the temporal inability to speak or move while sleeping, sleep paralysis is similar to cataplexy but the major difference is that, it occurs at the edges of the sleep. Similarly to cataplexy, sleep paralysis does not also lead to permanent dysfunction, after the end of the episodes of sleep paralysis, patients would recover fully and begin to speak and move normally again.

**Hallucinations**: This is another symptom of narcolepsy, which is usually vivid and sometimes scary, the images could accompany sleep paralysis and it often happens when people are waking up or asleep, most likely, the contents are just visual but it often involves other senses also.

**Insomnia**: People with narcolepsy sleep a lot during the day, but getting sufficient sleep may be really difficult, the sleep may be disrupted by insomnia, sleep apnea, periodic leg movements and even acting out whilst dreaming.

**Automatic behaviors**: Episodes of temporary sleep is not far from those with narcolepsy condition, this could make a person abruptly sleep off during an activity like sleeping/eating, and they could get back to activity after just a few seconds. 

Now that we understand the symptoms of narcolepsy, let's check out the types of narcolepsy quickly as there are two basic types of narcolepsy;

**Type 1 Narcolepsy**: The diagnosis of type 1 narcolepsy is based on the individual having either a low level of a brain hormone called *hypocretin* or excessive daytime sleepiness on a special nap test (cataplexy).

**Type 2 Narcolepsy**: This is also known as secondary narcolepsy, those with this condition usually experience excessive daytime sleepiness but do not have muscle weakness that is triggered by emotions, they also have less severe symptoms associated with normal levels of the brain hormone *hypocretin*. This condition is usually a result of an injury to the hypothalamus (a deep region in the brain that helps regulate sleep), this also comes with an associated symptom of sleeping for more than 10 long hours every night. 

At this point, I am really curious to know the cause of narcolepsy, or if there is something to be careful about, no one would want to employ a staff who sleeps while working, or imagine that you doze off while shopping, that's completely embarrassing, so let's look through the possible causes of narcolepsy.

The main cause of narcolepsy is not completely understood, but there is research suggesting that it may be a result of the combination of several factors combined together to result in the production of insufficient *hypocretin* in the body, conditions that may result in the lack of hypocretin in the body are;

* Autoimmune disorder: The presence of cataplexy in the body is usually a result of the loss in brain cells producing hypocretin, there is no clear reason behind the cell loss yet, it could be linked with abnormalities in the immune system.

The autoimmune disorder happens when the body's immune system turns against itself and begins to accidentally attack healthy tissues and cells in the body, researchers also believe that, in individuals who have narcolepsy, the body's immune system begins to selectively attack the hypocretin which contains brain cells, this is because of the combination of environmental and genetic factors.

* Family history: Most people with cases of narcolepsy especially those accompanied by cataplexy, usually have a relative who has close relatives who have similar symptoms as well. However, the chance of a parent passing down the condition to her child is usually 1%.

* Brain injuries: In rare cases, narcolepsy occurs as a result of a traumatic injury done to some parts of the brain, this injury affects the aspect of the brain responsible for regulating wakefulness and REM sleep. 

Complications could arise from Narcolepsy;

* Narcolepsy could cause really embarrassing scenes and affect you professionally, colleagues at work may see you as being lethargic or just lazy.

* People who have narcolepsy, have a high chance of becoming excessively overweight, the weight gain often results in low metabolism.

* Narcolepsy may also cause physical harm, imagine someone who has this condition driving, it would definitely cause a terrible car accident.

* Intense emotional feelings like joy, or anger can trigger the sign of narcolepsy, this will definitely affect relationships a lot as your partner may not be able to relate to the reason behind the instant drowsiness after a brief feeling of excitement. 

### <center>Available treatments for Narcolepsy.</center>

There is no cure for narcolepsy yet, some of the treatments of narcolepsy may be handled with medications and basic lifestyle changes. Prescribed medications by medical experts can help control excessive daytime sleepiness in most individuals. These lifestyle changes may also help to regulate the body system functionality;
* Take short naps during the day.
* Have a regular sleep schedule.
* Exercise regularly.
* Skip alcohol or caffeine before going to bed.
* Avoid the consumption of heavy meals before going to bed.
* Engage in relaxing activities before bedtime. 
* Join support groups of people with the condition. 

### <center>Conclusion.</center>

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder, one that can be really embarrassing and dangerous at the same time. While there is no cure for narcolepsy, the condition can be managed and maintained in order to prevent the complications that come along with it.

### <center>References.</center>

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12147-narcolepsy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcolepsy

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/narcolepsy/

https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/narcolepsy

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/narcolepsy-fact-sheet

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcolepsy/symptoms-causes/syc-20375497

<center>![Snapchat-1340420437.jpg](https://files.peakd.com/file/peakd-hive/oluwatobiloba/23xeYvmqrEyjZGxCkE2CwoBnyCb3VuLgkG6xwXakqWjepZv1KTdsg8urfMT1yhZjsev4S.jpg)</center>
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Hi, I am Tobi a writer, speaker, relationship blogger, and lover of good music. I love making friends and learning from people. Want to hear me speak on relationships and general life issues, you can find my podcast channel [Here](https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy81OWUzMTI2MC9wb2RjYXN0L3Jzcw==) and I also have a [youtube channel](UChwx1ZfJxG3PtQ1tf6iUogw) where you can listen and watch any episode for free, do not forget to subscribe and share with friends.  I sincerely appreciate every love I get from members of the community and do well to keep them coming.
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vote details (322)
@apunawu ·
Honestly, dear, I was once a victim of such many years ago. During my period of experience with sleep disorders, I woke up at the midnight and never sleep till 5 AM. During this period, I used to witness all the evil displays at the night. I'm still grateful to God that I don't witness such again. Honestly, it's very deadly.
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@oluwatobiloba ·
I am so happy to read that you are doing well now, it can be so disturbing and embarrassing. Did it go away on its own or you did do something about it, I'll really like to know.
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@royalevidence ·
Quite Been the first time I will hear about this disorder but actually interesting to 
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@oluwatobiloba ·
I was surprised the first time I heard about it as well, like you said it's really interesting and it is a good thing we can learn on a daily basis. 
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