Narcolepsy – sudden sleep disease


Narcolepsy is a pathology of the characterized by sudden bouts of daytime sleepiness. Other names for the disease are Gelino disease, essential narcolepsy. The disease itself is not fatal, but accidents during episodes of narcolepsy are common.

Symptoms of Narcolepsy

To determine the presence of pathology can be on the following grounds:

  • excessive daytime sleepiness;
  • sleep paralysis;
  • hallucinations, frightening dreams;
  • snoring – it provokes relaxation of the throat muscles and blockage of the respiratory tract;
  • involuntary constant movements of the lower extremities (less often – the upper ones);
  • memory impairment, focusing;
  • lack of energy;
  • insomnia;
  • sudden muscle weakness.

In , among the manifestations of narcolepsy:

  • irritability;
  • hyperactivity;
  • staggering gait;
  • constantly half closed eyelids.

Causes of Narcolepsy

The main cause of the disease is a decrease in the level of hypocretins – neuropeptides, which are synthesized by the hypothalamus. Their function is to keep the body awake. The substances are responsible for the production of dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine.

Hormone deficiency also causes and mood swings, so treatment for narcolepsy often requires a multi-course approach that takes into account adjacent factors in the course of the disease.

The lack of production of hypocretins can be caused by the following reasons:

  • heredity is the cause of narcolepsy in about 10% of cases;
  • low levels of histamine in the blood;
  • brain damage – tumors, injuries, stroke;
  • exposure to toxins – pesticides, heavy metals, smoke;
  • autoimmune disorders (celiac disease, lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis);
  • vitamin D deficiency;
  • viral diseases (first of all, flu).

Treatment of narcolepsy

The condition is diagnosed with a thorough physical examination. Helps to establish the diagnosis of keeping a sleep diary.

In clinical conditions, monitoring is carried out using electrodes attached to the head and body. The technique allows to record the activity of the brain, the muscles, respiratory organs, vision, hearing in different phases of sleep, to note how quickly sleep and transition to deep sleep occur.

When therapy is used:

  • Stimulants – Modafinil, Methylphenidate and other drugs containing amphetamine. Side effects include: headaches, nervousness, palpitations. Reception of amphetamines is fraught with the development of addiction.
  • Antidepressants that block serotonin reuptake. Such drugs as Fluoxetine, , Atomoksetin suppress drowsiness, relieve catalepsy symptoms, relieve from hallucinations. At the same time, they cause weight gain, digestive disorders, and sexual dysfunction.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants – Imipramine, Clomipramine, Nortriptilin, Amiltryptilin.
  • Hypnotics (Zopiclone, Zolpidem).
  • Sodium oxybutyrate – improves the quality of sleep, but can cause nausea, increased sweating.

Effective with narcolepsy physiotherapy, conversational psychotherapy, reflexology, massage. Aromatherapy helps to fight fatigue, , improve sleep. Relaxes and soothes the oil of lavender, orange, geranium, ylang-ylang, bergamot, incense, mint, mandarin, rose, oregano.

Techniques to reduce the frequency of recurrence of narcolepsy

Fully cure the disease is impossible, but you can reduce the frequency of attacks. To do this, use the control cycles of sleep, exercise, diet, taking vitamins.

Sleep cycle control

When narcolepsy is difficult to maintain vigor in the daytime, which creates difficulties during study, work. Tracking the cyclical periods of sleep and wakefulness contributes to the adaptation to the needs of the body, the development of an individual mode. This allows you to perform the necessary actions during periods when the activity is maximum.

It is useful to use breaks in work, study for a short sleep (not more than an hour).

Physical exercise

Even a 20-minute daily activity relieves the symptoms of narcolepsy, including depression, cognitive impairment, insomnia. It is necessary to be engaged with extraneous support, it is important to monitor the patient’s condition and protect him from injury if he suddenly falls asleep.

It is preferable to choose calm types of loads – Pilates, yoga, walks. More intense loads are also helpful, but strong emotions inherent in team sports can provoke an attack of uncontrolled sleep.

Support Group

It is impossible to get rid of narcolepsy, and the disorder makes major adjustments and restrictions on lifestyle. Constant fatigue, low motivation, a feeling of isolation cause the development of increased anxiety, anxiety, and depression.

Support for children and adolescents is especially necessary – with such a diagnosis, school bullying is not excluded. A child may feel depressed because of the inability to fully learn, to spend leisure time with peers. Group therapy allows you to get out with your problem to an understanding audience, relax, share experiences.


Symptoms may be exacerbated by food intolerance. Most often, a negative reaction is caused by:

  • milk products;
  • wheat;
  • rye;
  • soybean;
  • corn;
  • chocolate.

Sugar, caffeine, alcohol, refined carbohydrates should be avoided.

Balanced nutrition will help control weight. Half of the children with narcolepsy are diagnosed with obesity. Excess weight becomes an additional factor that worsens the quality of a night’s sleep, provokes apnea, and chronic fatigue.

Vitamin D

You can ask the doctor about the appointment of a synthetic form of vitamin (D3), and ergocalciferol (D2) to receive with food, supplementing the diet with keta, mackerel, herring, fish oil, cream, sour cream, beef liver, egg yolk, cod liver.

The most effective way to avoid vitamin D deficiency is exposure to sunlight:

  • 15 minutes a day for people with fair skin;
  • 30 minutes for those whose skin tone is darker.

Narcolepsy - sudden sleep disease

You do not need to use sunscreen, otherwise the vitamin is not synthesized.

Vitamin B12

Cobalt-containing substances improve memory, mood, increase energy.

Narcolepsy - sudden sleep disease

They are present in:

  • beef liver;
  • lamb meat;
  • salmon;
  • beef;
  • eggs;
  • cottage cheese;
  • rabbit meat;
  • cod;
  • carp;
  • sour cream


Amino acid increases the duration of night sleep, along with this markedly reducing daytime sleepiness. Acceptance of oxytripana requires the approval of the doctor, the drug has side effects, the ability to suppress or increase the effects of other drugs.

You can not use the tool in the treatment of pediatric narcolepsy and during pregnancy.

Omega-3 fats

Improve cognitive abilities, performance. Children and adolescents help cope with hyperactivity, attention deficit.

High concentration of polyunsaturated acids in:

  • flax seeds;
  • herring;
  • mackerel;
  • walnuts;
  • salmon;
  • beans;
  • dry beans;
  • germs of oats, wheat;
  • spinach;
  • cauliflower;
  • avocado;
  • strawberries;
  • raspberries;
  • linseed oil.

Sudden falling asleep while working, driving, preparing food, participating in sports activities is dangerous for getting injured – both by the patient and by third parties. The most common burns, fractures, cuts, hematomas. In case of head injuries, urgent consultation on concussion is necessary.

Narcolepsy refers to diseases that are currently incurable. The state imposes a number of restrictions, seriously lowering the quality of life. The patient needs not only professional medical care, but also the support of loved ones. This will avoid isolation, increase socialization, protect against depression, allow a person to realize.

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