What is Narcolepsy?


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What is narcolepsy? It is estimated that 1 in 3000 people in America suffer from narcolepsy. With a sleeping disorder this serious, maybe you should have a better understanding of just what narcolepsy is.

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What is Narcolepsy?

  1. 1. What Is Narcolepsy?Understanding This Serious Sleeping DisorderNarcolepsy is one of those words that youve probably heard many times -either in conversation or in a movie. If someone asked though, could youactually answer the question: what is narcolepsy? It is estimated that 1 in 3000 people in America suffer from narcolepsy. With a sleeping disorder this serious, maybe you should have a better understanding of just what narcolepsy is. Narcolepsy is a sleeping disorder of the central nervous system where your brain is unable to regulateyour sleep-wake cycles. A narcoleptic, as they are called, doesnt have anycontrol over their sleeping and waking states - they experienceuncontrollable and instantaneous episodes of sleep. These bouts of sleepcan last anywhere from a couple of seconds to a few minutes.People who have narcolepsy can experience these sleep episodes anywhere,anytime. It could happen while they are at school, at work, in the middle ofa conversation or during an activity like driving - making it very dangerousindeed.
  2. 2. Not being able to get to sleep at night can be a horrible experience - at night as well as throughout the following day. But it doesnt have to be that way - sometimes all it takes is a few lifestyle adjustments. Learn what you need to know to instantly fall asleep each night in the sleep ebook, Get to Sleep Now! 39 Ways to Guarantee Your ZZZs.What is Narcolepsy - SymptomsIn addition to the more obvious signs of narcolepsy such as daytimesleepiness, narcoleptics may also experience hallucinations or vivid imagesresembling dreams when they are just about to fall asleep or immediatelyfollowing waking up.Sleep paralysis is another common occurrence in people suffering fromnarcolepsy. This total loss of reflexes while sleeping normally occurs inhealthy sleepers only during REM sleep. During waking hours, narcolepticsmay experience something similar - a instantaneous loss of muscle control,called cataplexy. If a narcoleptic experiences cataplexy, their body willrespond as if they were fainting - they will lose all muscle control andcollapse in place. This could last for seconds or minutes.Another symptom of narcolepsy is disrupted nighttime sleep. Narcolepticsmay be able to fall asleep without any serious problems but they usuallyhave difficulty staying asleep. Their sleep could be disrupted by anythingfrom insomnia and hypnic jerking to vivid dreams and sleep talking.
  3. 3. What is Narcolepsy – Causes Although doctors know what causes narcolepsy, they dont actually know what causes what it is that causes narcolepsy. That is to say that sleep experts know that narcolepsy is caused by a lack of hypocretin - a neurotransmitter in the brain. They dont know, however, why narcoleptics are lacking in hypocretin.Neurons produce these chemicals known as neurotransmitters tocommunicate amongst themselves and to regulate our biological processes.Problems start to occur after somewhere around 70,000 brain cellscontaining hypocretin die out. This loss of hypocretin is what results in ourbodies inability to regulate sleep. While normal, healthy sleepers typicallysleep in cycles ranging from 100 to 110 minutes long, beginning with non-REM sleep and moving into REM sleep, narcoleptics frequently enter intoREM sleep within minutes of dozing off.What is Narcolepsy - Treatments Related ArticlesAs of yet, narcolepsy cannot be cured - the loss ofhypocretin in the brain is considered to be Narcolepsy Symptomsirreversible. That being said, two of the symptoms Narcolepsy Causesof narcolepsy - excessive daytime sleepiness and Narcolepsy Treatmentscataplexy - can be somewhat controlled by several Sleep Diseasesdrugs on the market which have been approved bythe FDA.