Do you often experience excessive sleepiness during daytime? You might be suffering from a rare sleep disorder called narcolepsy. Learn about this disease, its signs and symptoms, and how to manage it.

Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological sleep disorder that affects 1 out of 2,000 people in the United States and approximately 3 million people worldwide. It is characterized mostly by excessive daytime sleepiness. But may also involve one or more of the following symptoms: sudden loss of muscle tone (cataplexy), sleep paralysis, hypnagogic hallucinations, and sleepwalking.

The first symptoms of narcolepsy can be observed during the early teenage years. However, being an adolescent, it is often mistaken as laziness. Or not wanting to get up and go to school. In some cases, the sleep disorder is misdiagnosed with depression, other sleep disorder, or other diseases. This leads to patients not getting the right treatment.

There is no cure of narcolepsy at the moment. But it can be manageable by lifestyle modifications. Such as:

  1. Have a restful night. Most narcoleptics have poor quality sleep at night. This results in low energy during the day. Hence, the feeling of extreme sleepiness. Having quality sleep at night helps improve wakefulness during the day.
  2. Take multiple daytime naps. Dozing off for at least 15 to 20 minutes is helpful for people with narcolepsy as it makes them feel refreshed. Thus, improves their alertness. It is good to schedule naps to avoid unintentional sleeping which may lead to accidents. Like falling asleep while crossing the street, cooking, or driving. It’s also helpful to limit each nap time to 20 minutes to avoid oversleeping which can result to a restless night. Turn on your alarm or ask someone to wake you up to regulate catnaps.
  3. Stay active. Sitting for long periods can easily make someone drowsy. Walk around when you feel drifting off to stay alert. If you work at a desk, stand up when reading texts, walk to the bathroom, or take the stairs when you have a chance.
  4. Take care with caffeine. Drinking tea or coffee is helpful to stay awake. It increases blood flow and put the body in a state of alertness. But be careful if you’re taking stimulant medications such as armodafinil or modafinil. This is because combining them with caffeine can increase heart rate causing jitters and anxiety. It is recommended to avoid consuming caffeine after 4 in the afternoon. Regardless of whether you are taking stimulant meds or not; to avoid difficulty sleeping at night.

Although narcolepsy is not fatal, it can lead to life-threatening mishaps. Like car accidents, drowning, or falling from stairs due to drowsiness or suddenly falling asleep . If you suspect you are suffering from narcolepsy, it is highly recommended to see a doctor to get proper test, diagnosis, and treatment.

Author's Bio: 

Isabella Whitmore is an article writer who likes to share information about health, home, and lifestyle. She works for, an e-commerce website that offers premium quality electric kettles.