Narcolepsy is a relatively rare sleep disorder, affecting an estimated 200,000 Americans. However, researchers believe many more people with this sometimes debilitating sleep disorder may be undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, due to this condition being difficult to recognize based on symptoms alone. Many other sleep disorders, physical illnesses, drug interaction side effects and even mental illnesses can present with some of the same symptoms as narcolepsy, such as excessive daytime sleepiness, muscle weakness, collapse, hallucinations and sleep paralysis.
How do sleep medicine physicians define narcolepsy? First, it’s important to note that narcolepsy is one of the less commonly seen sleep disorders. Many people who have excessive daytime sleepiness—who yawn a lot, fall asleep very easily or take unwanted naps during the day—may think they may be narcoleptic, but they’re probably mistaken. It’s far more likely they’re experiencing the symptoms of the more common sleep disorders of sleep apnea or insomnia—disorders that affect millions of Americans.
Sleep Disorders affect over 70 Million Americans Sleep disorders are not rare. They are actually common and many may actually suffer from a sleep disorder or other sleep issue and not even be aware of it. Signs of a Sleep Disorder or Sleep Issue Taking longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep Feeling tired or irritable during the day even though you got seven to eight hours of sleep Waking up in the middle of the night and being unable to fall back asleep Needing long naps
Excessive Sleepiness What is it? Excessive sleepiness is feeling very tired or drowsy during the day. It is often confused with fatigue, but they are different struggles. Excessive Sleepiness vs Fatigue Fatigue is dealing with low energy. You can be physically, mentally, or emotionally fatigued. This is usually a result of either a medical condition or overusing your body or mind. Excessive Sleepiness makes you feel so tired that it ends up interfering with your daily life.
What is Narcolepsy? Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder, stemming from the brain’s inability to regulate periods of sleep and wakefulness (Michael Breus, Ph.D., ABSM). Most of the time those who suffer from Narcolepsy will feel that they are rested and ready for the day but then will become extremely tired throughout the day and may fall asleep involuntarily. Symptoms of Narcolepsy Excessive Daytime Sleepiness is exactly what it sounds like, being
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