What Is Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a neurological that impairs one's ability to control sleep and wakefulness.  People with Narcolepsy may experience loss of muscle control or daytime sleepiness.  A person with Narcolepsy can fall asleep at work, during meals, or even driving.  The sleep attacks are unpredictable.  When people with Narcolepsy suddenly fall asleep, they immediately enter rapid eye movement (REM) sleep instantly in the sleep cycle and during the day.  REM sleep induces intense dreams and muscle paralysis. 

Signs Of Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy symptoms usuallly begin between the ages of 15-25, but they often goes undiagnosed and untreated.  While excessive daytime sleepiness is the most common symptom, symptoms may vary from person to person.  Some symptoms of Narcolepsy may be related to abnormal REM sleep.  One with Narcolepsy may experience the following symptoms.

  • Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
  • Cataplexy (loss of muscle control)
  • Sleep Paralysis
  • Hallucinations
  • Micro Sleep (you continue to function while alseep, but have no memory of the things you've done during this time)
  • Immediate Entry into REM Sleep
What Causes Narcolepsy

The exact cause of Narcolepsy is unknown, but the general belief is that it is caused by a combination of genetics and an environmental factor such as a virus.  Scientists have found that people with Narcolepsy are deficient in hypocretin, which is a brain chemical that regulates normal sleep and activates arousal.  Narcolepsy is likely the result of numerous factors that disrupt sleep and cause neurological dysfunction.  Causes are listed below:

  • Hypocretin Deficiency
  • Viral Infection
  • Exposure to H1N1 (swine flu)
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Trauma
  • Immune System Dysfunction
  • Genetics

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies
  • People with Narcolepsy can learn to have healthier sleep by eliminating alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine from their diet.  It can be beneficial to improve overall dietary choices to optimize your health.  You can do this by following a plant-based diet and additionally eliminating meat, dairy, sugar, salt, and processed foods.  
  • Nutrients that are beneficial for Narcolepsy patients include magnesium B vitamins, vitamins C, D, & E, and omega-3 fatty acids.  You can get these nutrients from a variety of fruits and vegetables, including leafy green veggies, avocados, bananas, dark berries, raw nuts and seeds, flaxseed oil, and vegetable sprouts. 
  • Maintaining a regular sleep schedule can help decrease symptoms of Narcolepsy.  You can do this by going to bed and waking up at the same times every day.  It's ideal to get 7-8 hours of sleep, as this is a healthy amount of sleep.  You can also take a couple 15-20 minute naps during the day can help reduce involuntary sleep bouts.  Schedule times to take naps during the day. 
  • You can use the Gotu Kula herb, which can help reduce Narcolepsy and other sleep disorders.  Gotu Kula strengthens connective tissues and can improve blood flow.  
  • Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery if you don't have your Narcolepsy under control.  It can be very dangerous to the self and others if you fall asleep at the wheel, so it's best to refrain from these actions. 
  • Exercising may help you combat daytime sleepiness and give you a more energetic feeling throughout the day. If you feel more awake during the day, this will help your nightly sleep schedule.  One thing to remember is to exercise at least 4-5 hours before you go to sleep at night.  Exercising too close to bedtime can keep you up at night disrupt your sleep. 
Things you should eat
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Almond Milk
  • Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
  • Flaxseeds (and flaxseed oil)
  • Raw Almonds & Walnuts
  • Broccoli
  • Dark Leafy Greens (spinach, kale, & chard)
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Dark Berries
  • Lentils
  • Cashews
  • Pine Nuts
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