Narcolepsy in Cedar City, UT

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What Is Narcolepsy?

Our sleep medicine specialists in the Serenity Sleep Center may diagnose your narcolepsy if you have the symptoms of an uncontrollable desire to sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, or the sudden loss of muscle control known as cataplexy. Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that causes sudden sleep attacks, and in some cases, hallucinations that happen upon waking, sleep paralysis, insomnia, and changes in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.

Type 1 narcolepsy involves cataplexy and low levels of hypocretin (also called orexin), which regulates when you stay awake and when you enter REM sleep. Scientists suspect the low levels of hypocretin may be an autoimmune reaction. The majority of people with narcolepsy have type 2 and do not have cataplexy. There currently is no cure for narcolepsy, which can go undiagnosed for many years, but the sleep medicine team at serenity sleep center can recommend medications and lifestyle changes to help you manage the symptoms.

Treatments to Manage Narcolepsy

Based on your symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness, a sleep specialist will determine the type of narcolepsy you have based on sleep records and several tests about how you sleep. Canyon View Ear, Nose & Throat's sleep experts will review your sleep history and records before ordering a sleep study, known as polysomnography, which measures brain waves and records other activities while you sleep, such as blood oxygen levels, breathing and heart rates, and leg and eye movements. A multiple sleep latency test may also be prescribed to measure how long it takes you to fall asleep during the day. Other tests that could be conducted include genetic tests, which involve a lumbar puncture or spinal tap. All of these tests are necessary to help eliminate other possible causes of excessive daytime sleepiness, such as sleep apnea or medications causing drowsiness.

There isn't a cure for narcolepsy, but our sleep specialists can recommend medications and lifestyle changes to manage the symptoms of this sleep disorder. Medicines include stimulants, serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants, sodium oxybate (Xyrem), and oxybate salts (Xywav).

We may also recommend these home remedies to help improve your sleep health:

  • Follow a sleep schedule. Our sleep experts may encourage you to stick to a sleep schedule and follow it every day of the week, including weekends. Stick to a schedule. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, including on weekends.
  • Take short naps daily. Naps of 20 minutes during the day may refresh your body and reduce sleepiness for up to three hours.
  • Avoid nicotine and alcohol. These substances, especially at night, often worsen symptoms.
  • Get regular exercise. Moderate, regular exercise at least 4 – 5 hours before bedtime may help you sleep better at night, and you may feel more energized and awake during the day.

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Improve Your Sleep Health

Sleep is a vital part of our health. Serenity Sleep Center at Canyon View Ear, Nose & Throat is an accredited sleep facility with the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Dr. Pearson has been treating patients with sleep disorders for 19 years. If you suspect you might have narcolepsy or another sleep disorder, contact our Cedar City, UT office to schedule a consultation today.

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