Popular culture has developed an image of people with narcolepsy as those who sleep all the time. In fact, people with narcolepsy generally do not sleep more than typical people. What happens instead is that their brains are unable to control the boundaries between wake and sleep states.

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According to the Narcolepsy Network, one in every two thousand people struggles with narcolepsy. There are several common symptoms of narcolepsy, including: 
•    Fatigue
•    Hallucinations
•    Cataplexy, where a person collapses from a strong emotion, despite remaining conscious
•    Sleep Paralysis

Essentially, when falling into sleep, people with narcolepsy do not pass through the stage of light sleep, where their brains do not dream. They pass immediately into REM sleep, the dreaming state, and experience fragments of REM sleep throughout their waking hours. 

Narcolepsy isn't dangerous on its own; the danger lies in what can happen if a person experiences fragments of REM sleep while driving or operating heavy machinery, for example. The symptoms themselves can also be very disturbing, especially if someone frequently experiences hallucinations and sleep paralysis upon waking or falling asleep.


To diagnose narcolepsy, the doctors at Prana Healthcare generally take a complete medical history, including family history. Depending on what they find, an overnight sleep study in a sleep laboratory might be recommended. Treatment can involve both medications and behavioral changes. 


If you're struggling to stay awake during the day and dealing with uncomfortable sensations at night, know that things can be better. Contact Prana Healthcare today to schedule a complete sleep evaluation.