Sometimes, narcolepsy can be accompanied by a sudden loss of muscle tone cataplexy , which can be triggered by strong emotion. Narcolepsy that occurs with cataplexy is called type 1 narcolepsy. Narcolepsy that occurs without cataplexy is known as type 2 narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a chronic condition for which there's no cure. However, medications and lifestyle changes can help you manage the symptoms.
Support from others — family, friends, employers, teachers — can help you cope with narcolepsy. The signs and symptoms of narcolepsy may worsen for the first few years and then continue for life. They include:. Excessive daytime sleepiness. People with narcolepsy fall asleep without warning, anywhere, anytime. For example, you may be working or talking with friends and suddenly you nod off, sleeping for a few minutes up to a half-hour. When you awaken, you feel refreshed, but eventually you get sleepy again. You may also experience decreased alertness and focus throughout the day.
Excessive daytime sleepiness usually is the first symptom to appear and is often the most troublesome, making it difficult for you to concentrate and fully function. Sudden loss of muscle tone.
This condition, called cataplexy KAT-uh-plek-see , can cause a number of physical changes, from slurred speech to complete weakness of most muscles, and may last up to a few minutes. Cataplexy is uncontrollable and is triggered by intense emotions, usually positive ones such as laughter or excitement, but sometimes fear, surprise or anger. For example, when you laugh, your head may droop uncontrollably or your knees may suddenly buckle.
Some people with narcolepsy experience only one or two episodes of cataplexy a year, while others have numerous episodes daily. Not everyone with narcolepsy experiences cataplexy. Sleep paralysis.
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People with narcolepsy often experience a temporary inability to move or speak while falling asleep or upon waking. These episodes are usually brief — lasting a few seconds or minutes — but can be frightening.
You may be aware of the condition and have no difficulty recalling it afterward, even if you had no control over what was happening to you. This sleep paralysis mimics the type of temporary paralysis that normally occurs during a period of sleep called rapid eye movement REM sleep.
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This temporary immobility during REM sleep may prevent your body from acting out dream activity. Not everyone with sleep paralysis has narcolepsy, however. Many people without narcolepsy experience some episodes of sleep paralysis. People with narcolepsy may have other sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea — a condition in which breathing starts and stops throughout the night — restless legs syndrome and even insomnia.
Some people with narcolepsy experience automatic behavior during brief episodes of narcolepsy. For example, you may fall asleep while performing a task you normally perform, such as writing, typing or driving, and you continue to perform that task while asleep.
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When you awaken, you can't remember what you did, and you probably didn't do it well. See your doctor if you experience excessive daytime sleepiness that disrupts your personal or professional life. The exact cause of narcolepsy is unknown. People with type 1 narcolepsy have low levels of the chemical hypocretin hi-poe-KREE-tin. Hypocretin is an important neurochemical in your brain that helps regulate wakefulness and REM sleep.
Hypocretin levels are particularly low in those who experience cataplexy. Exactly what causes the loss of hypocretin-producing cells in the brain isn't known, but experts suspect it's due to an autoimmune reaction. More Videos Sleep and health Put the iPhone down. Trouble sleeping? Put the iPhone down Sleep tips for more zzzzzs! In fact, people who don't sleep enough at night risk gaining extra pounds, not losing them, according to John M.
Hormones that regulate growth and appetite are part of the equation, according to Jakicic, but equally culpable is sleep sabotage.
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He believes that the more you're awake, the greater the chance you'll have an extra snack or two or three or four. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences supports that theory. It found that people who don't get enough sleep are more likely to be hungry because the body needs more energy to stay awake.
1. How Fast Your Metabolism is Running
Unfortunately, sleepy eaters tend to consume more than enough to compensate, which leads to weight gain. If your body is worn, you're not going to be bounding up the stairs to your office, and you might be less motivated to make it to the gym. Less physical activity means fewer calories burned which, over time, can lead to weight gain. If you're not sleeping well at night, you may be causing hormonal imbalances that could be making you feel hungry when you don't really need to eat.
Your growth hormones are also to blame, according to Teitelbaum. The less sleep you get, the less time your body has for these critical processes. And since the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism, not sleeping enough could be affecting how effectively your body burns through calories.
So if you suffer from insomnia, restless leg syndrome, fibromyalgia or any other sleep or pain disorders that can make shut-eye elusive, seek treatment. And yes, if you're on a diet, getting quality, restful sleep can help you shed pounds, but it'll take awhile.