Narcolepsy is one of the most debilitating sleep disorders known in the modern age. It is characterized by unusually excessive drowsiness, throughout the day – often at random, inopportune times. Patients will often experience highly abnormal REM sleep, as well as severe symptoms such as sleep paralysis, hypnagogic (pre-sleep) hallucinations, cataplexy (paralysis or weakness brought on by intense emotional reactions), and disruptive nocturnal sleep.
Narcolepsy and OSA, Obstructive Sleep Apnea are linked by their associated daytime drowsiness (Hypersomnia) – the two conditions will often occur in unison. Frequent daytime naps, and sudden onset of daytime sleep are common signs of narcolepsy development.
Symptoms & Side Effects of Narcolepsy
Those who are narcoleptic are prone to sudden unwanted sleepiness. The urge to sleep is so strong at times, that some individuals may dose off in the midst of conversation or while engaged in normal daily activity. This is quite dangerous as it can occur while driving or performing other engaging tasks. Car accidents are 10 times more likely for those who have or are currently suffering from narcolepsy, even after treatment in certain (rare) severe cases.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Narcolepsy are closely linked, despite being different disorders. However, often times the treatment of one will illness will alleviate symptoms from the other. In order to properly diagnose these issues, patients must undergo a sleep study or Polysomnography.
The most common signs and symptoms include:
- Napping or Dosing Off Multiple Times per Day
- Auditory or Visual Hallucinations When Trying to Sleep
- Sudden Weakness or Paralysis Brought on By Intense Emotions – Cataplexy. (laughing, crying etc.)
- Sleep Paralysis – Being stuck in a transient state between being asleep and awake
- Intense Dreams & Nightmares
For more information on Narcolepsy brought on by sleep apnea, please call Dr. Pinkhasova today.