Narcolepsy: Nocturnal Sleep

Topics: Sleep / Pages: 3 (682 words) / Published: Apr 4th, 2008

Narcolepsy is a neurological condition that affects millions of people worldwide every year. It is characterized by having disturbed nocturnal sleep; which many confuse with insomnia. Someone that is a narcoleptic might experience sleep at random time throughout the day. Narcolepsy affects about 500,000 people in the United States and over 3 million internationally.

As stated early, narcolepsy is characterized a vast yearning to sleep throughout the day. The naps can occur during normal activities such as working, operating machinery, and exercising. To a narcoleptic, these naps can be very revitalizing but the drowsiness may still endure. When sleeping at night, many narcoleptics might have trouble sleeping, and often wake up frequently throughout the night. There are four major symptoms of someone with narcolepsy. These conditions are cataplexy, sleep paralysis, hypnagogic hallucinations, and automatic behavior. Cataplexy is described as an episodic condition where you lose control of muscle functions. This can be something simple as a weakness in the arms and legs to something more complex such as complete total body shutdown. Sleep paralysis occurs when a narcoleptic wakes up with the incapability of speaking and moving. This symptom of narcolepsy last from a few second to minutes and is not dangerous or harmful. The third of the symptoms, hypnagogic hallucination, are dreamlike experiences that are very frightening. These can occur while dozing, falling asleep, or waking up and are often. Automatic behavior is when a person continues doing normal activities, such as cleaning, talking, cooking, but when they are awaken they have no recollection of performing these activities. Almost half of narcoleptics experience automatic behavior.

There are several ways someone who thinks they might be a narcoleptic can be diagnosed. These include: Polysomnogram Test, Multiple Sleep Latency Test, and Genetic blood tests. A Polysomnogram basically studies

Cited: Kristo, David A."MSLT.” Sleep Education. November 2005. Nov 2007. “Sleep Disorders.” University of California, Medical Center. Nov.2007. narcolepsy/treatments.html

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