Is it daytime sleepiness or could it actually be narcolepsy?
While it’s normal for most people to experience days where they may nod off at the desk or find themselves asleep on their textbook, these bouts of sleepiness aren’t the same as the episodes that occur when one has narcolepsy, a sleep disorder that affects the area of the brain that regulates sleep. Learn more about the signs and symptoms of narcolepsy and how our Columbia, SC, sleep doctor, Dr. Richard Bogan, can help you manage your condition.
What are the warning signs of narcolepsy?
Symptoms of narcolepsy usually appear around the ages of 15 to 25; however, sometimes symptoms appear later or early in life. Symptoms may be mild at first but will usually get worse over time. Common signs of narcolepsy include:
Extreme daytime sleepiness
This is a classic symptom of narcolepsy. Those with narcolepsy will regularly feel exhausted throughout the day despite getting a full night’s sleep. It’s important to note that this symptom is also a sign of other sleep disorders including obstructive sleep apnea, so if you find yourself having trouble staying awake most days, then it may be time to visit a sleep physician at our Columbia, SC, office.
Some patients may experience vivid hallucinations either before falling asleep or upon waking. These hallucinations are primarily visual and can feel incredibly real. Common hallucinations include seeing someone in the room that isn’t there. The symptom can be unnerving and frightening, particularly for children and teens.
Hallucinations may also occur along with feeling paralyzed or unable to move either upon waking or right before falling asleep. This sensation can last anywhere from a few seconds to minutes. Some people may even report feeling unable to breathe while under paralysis. Just like hallucinations, this symptom of narcolepsy can also be scary.
Problems with memory
As you might imagine, when you don’t get the quality sleep your brain is greatly impacted. You feel a loss of energy, and concentration and memory often suffer. Those with narcolepsy usually experience bouts of forgetfulness or have trouble remembering. Memory problems can become particularly severe during moments of exhaustion and sleepiness.
Concerned? Give us a call
Narcolepsy is more common than you might realize, and it’s important to recognize the signs so that you can get a sleep evaluation right away. If you suspect that you or a loved one has narcolepsy, call Bogan Sleep Consultants in Columbia, SC, today at (803) 251-3093 to schedule an appointment.