Narcolepsy and Sleep over the Lifespan

Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the control of sleep and wakefulness. People with narcolepsy experience excessive daytime sleepiness and intermittent, uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the daytime. These sudden sleep attacks may occur during any type of activity at any time of the day. In a typical sleep cycle, we initially enter the early stages of sleep followed by deeper sleep stages and ultimately (after about 90 minutes) rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. For people suffering from narcolepsy, REM sleep occurs almost immediately in the sleep cycle, as well as periodically during the waking hours. It is in REM sleep that we can experience dreams and muscle paralysis which explains some of the symptoms of narcolepsy. Narcolepsy usually begins between the ages of 15 and 25, but it can become apparent at any age. In many cases, narcolepsy is undiagnosed and, therefore, untreated. The cause of narcolepsy is not known however, scientists have made progress toward identifying genes strongly associated with the disorder. These genes control the production of chemicals in the brain that may signal sleep and awake cycles. Some experts think narcolepsy may be due to a deficiency in the production of a chemical called hypocrite by the brain. In addition, researchers have discovered abnormalities in various parts of the brain involved in regulating REM sleep. These abnormalities apparently contribute to symptom development. According to experts, it is likely narcolepsy involves multiple factors that interact to cause neurological dysfunction and REM sleep disturbances. Symptoms of narcolepsy include: EDS, cataplexy, Sleep paralysis

  • Treatment of narcolepsy
  • Restless Leg Syndrome and its treatment
  • Sleep deficiency and its consequences
  • Narcolepsy and Hypersomnia related psychiatric disease
  • Narcolepsy, idiopathic hypersomnia and recurrent hypersomnias
  • Teens and Sleep Health
  • Geriatric Sleep

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