Narcolepsy: How To Cope With It All
Narcolepsy can be really hard on both you and your loved ones. That’s why the National Sleep Foundation has developed a new Narcolepsy Resource Center. From a symptoms screener and quiz, you can find out if you have symptoms, how to manage it and just how to get through your day if you live with someone who has narcolepsy. So what is narcolepsy?
“Narcolepsy is a chronic brain disorder that involves poor control of sleep-wake cycles. People with narcolepsy experience periods of extreme daytime sleepiness and sudden, irresistible bouts of sleep that can strike at any time. These “sleep attacks” usually last a few seconds to several minutes,” the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke explains.
Symptoms of narcolepsy can definitely cause turmoil in daily life, especially when it comes to relationships, school and work. Things like losing focus in a conversation due to sleeplessness, habitually forgetting things, doing things automatically and not remember doing them, falling asleep in random places like your desk or in public and at odd times during the day.
According to The National Sleep Foundation, you should “explain narcolepsy to friends, family, and co-workers if appropriate. Educating them will increase their empathy and support for you. Also:
● Be flexible about social engagements and plans, knowing when you need to take a break and be okay with changing plans so you can take care of yourself.
● Take short naps during the day. Experiment with naps and see if, when, and for how long they make you feel alert.
● Get to know your triggers for intense sleepiness and cataplexy.
● Talk to your doctor about medications and how they affect your condition.
● Note what kinds of foods and regular exercises make you feel more alert.
● Practice good sleep habits. Like the ones listed here: How To Get Genuinely Good Sleep
● Find a support group for people with narcolepsy. Narcolepsy can be isolating. Learning from others is very helpful and will make you feel connected.”
- Romell Bhaala