What is Narcolepsy?
Narcolepsy is a Neurological disorder in which you have a tendency to fall asleep. Doctors discovered this disorder around the 1870s when there were excessive reports of people experiencing overwhelming daytime drowsiness.
How does it work?
For a person without Narcolepsy the cells located in the Hypothalamus create a chemical that activates sleep and wake signals called Hypocretin. For a person with Narcolepsy those cells are shut down which deactivates Hypocretin, and causes drowsiness.
Woman who is experiencing daytime sleepiness.
Symptoms that may occur?
One of the most common symptoms is cataplexy. Cataplexy is a loss in muscle tone and voluntary muscle control while awake. Although most people experience daytime sleepiness first, in 10 percent of all cases, cataplexy is the first symptom to appear.
In the video below, this is a less severe case of cataplexy in a toddler.
Cataplexy can indeed be triggered by emotions. In this video below, this is a severe cataplexy attack caused by laughter.
Other symptoms include hallucinations, sleep paralysis, microsleep, and nighttime wakefulness.
Narcolepsy occurs equally in both men and women and roughly 1 out of every 2,000 people suffer from it.
Of course doctors run all kinds of sleep test but scientist are currently working on treatments to boost the levels of hypocretin.
The most common test include, MSLT this test measures how long it takes for you to fall asleep. Other test are the Nocturnal polysomnogram, and spinal fluid analysis.
Although there is no cure, there are natural ways to HELP with Narcolepsy such as , avoiding alcohol and caffeine. Start exercising on a regular basis, go to counseling to help balance emotions, and try to keep a postive outlook on your situation because you are not alone.