Narcolepsy can be defined as excessive drowsiness during the day with a tendency to sleep at inappropriate times. The sleep episodes of narcolepsy are sometimes brought on by highly stressful situations and are not completely relieved by any amount of sleep.
Narcolepsy affects about one in every 2,000 people, or more than 135,000 Americans. It usually strikes people in their mid-teens to age 25.
What are the symptoms of Narcolepsy?
- Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
- Cataplexy - sudden, brief loss of muscle control, usually triggered by a strong emotion such as laughter, anger or suprise.
- Sleep Paralysis - brief loss of muscle control that occurs when a person is falling asleep or waking up.
- Hypnagogic Hallucinations - vivid dreamlike experiences that occur when a person is drowsy.
How is Nacolepsy diagnosed?
Diagnosis of this disorder requires an overnight sleep study and a daytime nap study called a Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT).
How is Narcolepsy treated?
Medication - prescription medications can be effective in controlling excessive daytime sleepiness and cataplexy.
- The following suggetions can bring improvement for some people with narcolepsy:
- Go to bed and get up at approximately the same time each day.
- Take short naps once or twice a day as needed.
- Be cautious during activities that can be dangerous such as driving; try to plan your schedule so that you will be alert during these times.
- Carefully follow your physician’s instructions regarding medications.
- Follow the rules of Good Sleep Hygiene.
Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)
MSLT is used to diagnose narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia. This test involves taking a series of naps throughout the day. Most patients will also spend the night prior to the MSLT in the lab for a PSG the monitoring devices described in the PSG section are already in place. During each nap opportunity, the patient is allowed a certain amount of time to fall asleep, then, a certain amount of time to sleep. The sleep tech monitors to make sure the patient is not sleeping between nap opportunities.
Hammond-Henry Hospital Sleep Disorder Center
600 North College Avenue
Geneseo, IL 61254
Phone: (309) 944-9290