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Narcolepsy – Overview

October 30, 2020


Narcolepsy is a chronic neurologic disorder that affects the way the brain is able to regulate the sleep and wake cycles. It does this abnormally. What happens ordinarily is we have four stages of sleep. One, two, three, and REM, and we cycled through these stages all night long stages, wanting to sleep are very light and you’ll easily wake up. If someone calls your name, stage three, sleep is the deep restorative sleep and REM sleep or rapid eye movement is our dream cycle. Normally it takes a person to fall asleep and be asleep for about an hour and a half. Before we have our first dream. This is not true for narcoleptics. They can go into a dream within seconds or minutes of falling asleep. And in fact, their sleep is not just disruptive at night, but even their daytime wakening and functioning is compromised because sleep can intrude while they’re awake during the day as well.

So if I don’t sleep well at night and they don’t stay awake well during the day. So you may have heard of narcolepsy, and know it is associated with excessive daytime sleepiness. People can actually fall asleep in the middle of a sentence in the middle of a meal. And sometimes even while they’re driving, they have this irresistible urge to sleep called a sleep attack. Sometimes they know it’s coming on and can pull over to the side of a road and take a nap. So naps are quite restorative for people with narcolepsy, but they have to do it. Sometimes they can’t control the urge to sleep. On the other hand, while they’re sleeping at night, they may be awake much more than they should be. That’s called fragmented sleep.

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