With hectic work schedules people face on a weekly basis, it becomes hard to have a decent amount of sleeping hours. This can be due to commuting long distance to get to work on time and waking up extremely early to avoid traffic.
Not having no control most of us experience the odd daytime episode, when we can hardly keep our eyes open. This may happen when we did not sleep well at night before or after a really big meal. In most cases, it is not a big issue and a cup of strong coffee or taking a walk around the block, office space usually can get you going. Although for some people, this is not easy because they have no control over where and when they might lose consciousness.
The condition is called narcolepsy and affects approximately 3million worldwide. It is however estimated that only 25% of people who have narcolepsy have been diagnosed and are receiving treatment. Possible triggers may include hormonal changes during puberty or menopause, psychological stress and infections like swine flu.
It is not easy to detect or diagnose narcolepsy because symptoms like fatigue are common to many conditions. The condition is diagnosed by means of a study which requires an overnight stay in a sleep lap. Misdiagnosis of narcolepsy is common and it may be taken for depression, insomnia and obstructive apnoea.
According to researchers narcolepsy is a rare long term brain disorder that can cause a person to suddenly fall asleep at inappropriate times. It can cause difficulties on a day to day basis.
Symptoms of the disorder:
Excessive sleepiness/ drowsiness during the day and sudden sleep attacks
Cataplexy a temporary loss of muscle control resulting in weakness and sometimes collapse
Sleep paralysis the inability to move or speak when waking up or falling asleep
Hypnotic hallucinations excessive dreaming (and waking up) during the night.
Narcolepsy can be cause by a lack of the brain chemical hypo-cretin which regulates wakefulness, but it does not explain all causes.
Treating narcolepsy; it cannot be cured, but improving sleeping habits and taking the correct medication can help reduce the impact of the condition on one’s daily life. Also frequent, brief naps throughout the day can help manage excessive daytime drowsiness.