Narcolepsy - The Management of a Common Sleep DisorderWritten by Donald Saunders
Narcolepsy, a chronic and commonly diagnosed sleep disorder, affects over a quarter of a million Americans each year (approximately one person in every two thousand). Characterized by body's inability to properly regulate sleep, narcolepsy's most obvious symptoms can include cataplexy (involuntary loss of muscle control), "automatic" behaviors (performing regular, mundane tasks by rote), hallucinations and paralysis during sleep.
However, narcolepsy is most commonly associated with onset of "mini sleeps" or "sleep attacks" during day. These narcoleptic episodes (often referred to as EDS or excessive daytime sleepiness) occur when individual is suddenly overcome by urge to sleep. The resulting state of narcolepsis can pass within a few seconds or it can last for more than half an hour.
Relatively recent medical research identifies narcolepsy as a genetically based sleep regulation disorder that usually emerges during middle and late teenage years. However, strong evidence also suggests that some forms of condition can be caused by head trauma or brain injury. Regardless of cause, because characteristics of narcolepsy can also be symptomatic of other, similar sleep disorders, a thorough medical evaluation (often including a variety of overnight sleep tests) is required for a correct diagnosis.
Although scientists continue to close in on genes connected with onset of narcolepsy, treatments for narcoleptics still vary widely. Common treatments include use of approved prescription drugs, such as modafinil and selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors like fluoxitine and sertroline, to treat excessive daytime sleepiness.
In large part however management of narcolepsy depends upon what appears most effective for individual, and because no cure exists at this time, available treatments primarily address sleep disorder's symptoms.
Reduce Stress and Enjoy More SleepWritten by Donald Saunders
If you suffer from insomnia of any kind, chances are you don't need to be told that there's a significant connection between sleep problems like insomnia and stress. In fact, as cases of insomnia and related sleep problems increase, more and more people find themselves caught between pressures and responsibilities of daily life and their desire for a good night's sleep.
The good news is that insomnia and stress don't have to go hand in hand. There are a variety of productive ways that you can reduce stress and increase your chances of getting a good night's sleep at same time.
If you have already taken basic steps necessary for a good night's sleep (the 5 steps to better sleep outlined in my previous article and published here), chances are you're suffering from stress-induced insomnia, and it's time for you to take action. That's because anxiety of any kind has quantifiable physiological effects such as increasing your blood pressure, your heart rate and your body temperature – which in turn disrupt your body's natural propensity for sleep and disturb your body's nightly sleep functions. In other words, anxiety doesn't just reduce amount of sleep you are able to get - it damages quality of sleep that you do enjoy.
Fortunately, you can reduce stress and improve your sleep fairly simply by undertaking some form of regular relaxation exercise. Depending upon your preference and your degree of stress, there are several different ways to improve your sleep quality through relaxation.
For some people all it takes to reduce stress is a warm bath and some sleep-promoting aromatherapy. Using calming aromatherapy candles or adding soothing essential oils to your bath are perfect way to diffuse anxiety and induce sleep you need after a long day.