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Why Are You Always So Sleepy? People With This Condition May Not Even Know They Have It

Do you ever find yourself asking, “Why am I always so sleepy?” Do you have vivid or frightening dreamlike experiences when on the verge of falling asleep?2 Or perhaps you experience cataplexy – a weakening of your muscles when you feel strong emotions like laughter, embarrassment or surprise.2,[1],[2]

If so, you’re not alone. You may be among the approximately 1 in 2,000 people in the U.S. who has narcolepsy.2,[3] While there are five major symptoms of narcolepsy, including vivid dreamlike experiences and cataplexy, you don’t need to have all five to have the condition.3,5

so sleepy narcolepsy

All 5 symptoms of narcolepsy are:

Excessive Daytime Sleepiness: an irresistible urge to sleep during the day3

Cataplexy: the weakening of muscles when you feel strong emotions like embarrassment, laughter, surprise, or anger2, 3, 4

Sleep Disruption: experiencing poor-quality sleep at night, often falling asleep quickly but waking up frequently throughout the night2,3

Sleep Paralysis: being unable to move or speak when falling asleep or waking up3,5

Hynpagogic Hallucinations: nightmares or vivid (often frightening) dreamlike experiences2, 3

so sleepy narcolepsy

Julea Steiner, a University of North Carolina (UNC) professor, struggled with excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), vivid dreams, hallucinations, and mild cataplexy for many years before she was correctly diagnosed with narcolepsy. Doctors misdiagnosed Julea with everything from ADHD to vitamin deficiency, and it wasn’t until a physician suggested she get a sleep study that she reached the correct diagnosis.

Julea joined me to tell the story of her journey to narcolepsy diagnosis. She was excited to share her story to help others understand the condition better.

so sleepy narcolepsy

Take a look at our chat below.


Visit the Symptom Screener on www.MoreThanTired.com, which can help you recognize and record any symptoms you are experiencing and prepare for a visit with a sleep specialist.

so sleepy narcolepsy

[1] American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Central Disorders of Hypersomnolence. In: The International Classification of Sleep Disorders – Third Edition (ICSD-       
  Online Version. Darien, IL: American Academy of Sleep Medicine; 2014. http://www.aasmnet.org/ebooks/icsd3. Accessed February 28, 2014.
[2] Overeem S, van Nues SJ, van der Zande WL, et al. The clinical features of cataplexy: a questionnaire study in narcolepsy patients with and without hypocretin-
   1 deficiency. Sleep Med. 2011;12(1):12-18.
[3] Pelayo R, Lopes MC. Narcolepsy. In: Lee-Chiong TL, ed. Sleep: A Comprehensive Handbook. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.; 2006:145-149.

so sleepy narcolepsy

Makeba Giles is a Digital Content Producer and Founder of Faith Health and Home, a digital space with information and resources for physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being to help families live an inspired lifestyle.

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