Narcolepsy, Sleepwalking, & Sleep Apnea

Symptoms of Narcolepsy

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Cataplexy (complete loss of muscle control)
  • sleep paralysis
  • Disrupted nighttime sleep
  • hypnogogic hallucinations

What IS Narcolepsy??

Narcolepsy is a disorder that affects sleep/wake patterns of one in about 2,000 people in the US. Narcolepsy associated with cataplexy is caused by a lack of two neurotransmitters in the brain called hypocretins. These chemicals regulate blood pressure, metabolism, and the circadian rhythm. Without them, the body can lose control of voluntary muscles in times of extreme emotional stress such as fear, anger, or even joy.

How can we fix that?

Narcolepsy has no known cure, but with the help of friends and family, narcoleptics can work around their symptoms.

Symptoms of sleep apnea

  • Excessive loud snoring
  • waking with less energy than before bed
  • waking short of breath
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • noticeable breathing cessations during sleep
  • morning dry mouth, sore throat, or headache
  • insomnia
  • difficulty focusing
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What IS sleep apnea?

obstructive sleep apnea, the more common form, happens when muscles in the throat relax and obstruct breathing.

central sleep apnea, another form, happens when the brain cannot send the right signals to the throat muscles that regulate breathing.

What can we do about it?

Sleep apnea is usually treated with a CPAP (breathing) machine. this device forces air into the lungs during sleep so that breathing cessations do not cause a shortage of oxygen at night.

Symptoms of sleepwalking

  • sleeptalking
  • little memory of the event
  • difficulty arousing the sleepwalker
  • strange or erratic behavior (especially at night)
  • night terrors

What IS sleepwalking?

somnambulism, commonly known as sleepwalking, originates during deep sleep and results in performing complex tasks while asleep. Sleepwalking can be triggered by sleep deprivation, sedatives, and some medications.
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Can it be helped?

Sleepwalking is usually caused by an underlying condition, such as stress or another disorder, and must be treated by solving the larger problem, but the occasional episode is not as much of an issue as frequent recurrences. Treatment options include:
  • treating underlying issues
  • changing medications
  • having supportive friends
  • medication