There are more than 100 different sleep disorders, but many of us know only insomnia. Sleeping disorder is not only categorized by sleeplessness but also by sleep quantity, quality, and timings. From physical health to mental health, a sleep disorder can contribute to several hazards. Here let’s discuss a unique sleep disorder, narcolepsy with cataplexy.  

What Does Narcolepsy with Cataplexy Mean

Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological sleep disorder that affects the brain’s control of sleep and wakefulness. In narcolepsy, people might experience trouble sleeping at night and suddenly fall asleep during the day. In some cases, people with narcolepsy also have cataplexy. Sleepiness combined with muscle weakness is called narcolepsy with cataplexy. Muscle weakness is triggered by strong emotions like anger, laughter, and surprise. 

Narcolepsy that occurs with cataplexy is called type 1 narcolepsy, and narcolepsy that occurs without cataplexy is called type 2 narcolepsy. 

What Does Narcolepsy with Cataplexy Look Like?

People with narcolepsy experience sleeplessness at night and tiredness during the day. In narcolepsy with cataplexy, you may fall asleep anytime and anywhere without warning. And also, your knees or muscles might tremble, or your head may droop uncontrollably. 

Understanding Narcolepsy

As said earlier, there are two types of narcolepsy. In the United States, type 1 narcolepsy affects 25 to 50 per 100,000 people, and 20 to 67 per 100,000 people are affected by type 2 narcolepsy. Many people are not diagnosed even after experiencing symptoms. Cataplexy narcolepsyaffects both men and women equally and can occur at any age. 

Symptoms of Narcolepsy- 

The symptoms of narcolepsy include the following- 

Excessive daytime sleepiness(EDS)– People with narcolepsy experience excessive daytime sleepiness. This condition makes people fall asleep anytime without warning. 

Sleep– Hypnagogic hallucinations ( occurs while falling asleep) and hypnopompic hallucinations (occurs when walking up). These Hallucinations are visual, but you feel like you can hear, taste or smell. 

Changes in REM sleep – Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep occurs any time of the day. REM is the stage when most of us dream.  

Sleep paralysis– People with narcolepsy experience higher sleep paralysis. They experience an inability to move or speak while sleeping or waking up. 

Automatic behavior changes– It means performing a purposeful task with no clear memory of having performed the activity.  

How to Manage Narcolepsy? 

 There is no particular treatment for narcolepsy, but incorporate these tips into the lifestyle-  

  1. Take scheduled naps 
  2. Maintain a good sleep routine 
  3. Exercise regularly 
  4. Avoid smoking/alcohol/coffee 
  5. Avoid stress
  6. Eat a balanced diet

Do not take any pills for narcolepsy without consulting your doctor. Seek support from your friends and family if you’re experiencing a serious issue.