ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Hard to Stay Awake? - You May Have Narcolepsy!

Updated on February 2, 2010
A person with narcolepsy may find it difficult to stay awake!
A person with narcolepsy may find it difficult to stay awake!

In the HUB "Sleep Disorders – A Serious Issue" I discussed sleep disorders and the importance of visiting a doctor for an actual diagnosis. Well this HUB, my friends, is about the symptoms that one experiences when dealing with narcolepsy. Narcolepsy afflicts 1 in 2,000 Americans and in all honesty, is no laughing matter. Many people that suffer with narcolepsy live a long time without being properly diagnosed as many "family" physicians are not sufficiently trained to deal with such a condition. In fact, for years, narcolepsy was treated as a "mental health issue" and not a medical disorder (which it actually is). Even though narcolepsy still throws many physicians for a loop, more and more people are getting treated for this interesting condition and are actually receiving the proper treatment and care.

Narcolepsy - NOT a Psychological Disorder!

When people hear the word narcolepsy, they automatically think of a person instantaneously falling asleep….usually during the most inopportune times. It is important to note that narcolepsy isn't related to poor sleep habits or a psychological disorder. Narcolepsy, in fact, occurs when the brain cannot properly regulate normal "sleep/wake" cycles. People that have narcolepsy experience "drowsy periods" throughout the day and often fall asleep at odd times (for example, at a party, work, or even the gym). These "drowsy periods" are also called "sleep attacks." A person with a severe case of narcolepsy can suffer from "sleep attacks" several times per day and often find it difficult to get through daily activities. Though there is no cure for narcolepsy, there are ways to treat it…thank goodness!

Not so long ago, people with narcolepsy were misdiagnosed and considered either lazy or possessed! Some scholars believe that individuals mentioned in the bible as being "filled with demons" actually suffered from either narcolepsy or epilepsy. Thank goodness we (as a people) have advanced! Though narcolepsy still remains a mystery in many ways, what is known for certain is that this condition disrupts the mechanism in the brain that coordinates the various "sleep states" that a person experiences.

Extreme Daytime Sleepiness!

Though this condition is not considered to be hereditary, it is interesting to note that if an individual has narcolepsy, then most likely…someone else in their family (either past or present) also suffers (or suffered) from this condition. Researchers believe that head trauma and hormonal changes may also play a role.

When it comes to narcolepsy, the most common symptom is excessive daytime sleepiness. In fact, the urge to sleep is so strong, it wreaks havoc on a person's life and can cause great distress. Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) can create the following complications:

  • Inability to stay alert when in a rested state (such as simply sitting in a chair)
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Sleep attacks (when a person suddenly falls asleep at an inopportune time)
  • Loss of energy
  • Difficulty remembering things


Extreme Fatigue

In order to be treated for narcolepsy it is VERY important that a person be diagnosed correctly! Doctor's often confuse narcolepsy with other conditions such as depression, sleep apnea and insomnia. If you believe that you have narcolepsy, mention it to your doctor. Even if you don't have this condition it can't hurt to "throw it out there." As always, make a list of your symptoms and write down any questions that you may have BEFORE your appointment. As I mentioned before, if you have narcolepsy it is extremely important that you be diagnosed QUICKLY so that the proper treatment program can be assigned. Good luck and here's to staying awake!

For more information about sleep disorders signs and symptoms...please visit the Sleep Disorders Signs and Symptoms Blog! Good Luck!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I also suspect to have this nacorlepsy I find it very hard to stay awake @ work I sometimes fall asleep while having convesations with people. Even right now as im typing this massage im feeling drowzie at work

    • Cygstarz profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Maryland

      Meh: Wouldn't it be nice if everyone could just quit their jobs and take naps instead!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      The only advice I could give, would be to quit your job, and see how your days are going then... you might be pleasantly surprised.

    • Cygstarz profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Maryland

      kyteflyer: Sorry to hear about your sounds awful! I sincerely wish you the best. Maybe you should go to a different doctor and get a second opinion. Good luck.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have diagnosed OSA which has been in treatment for a number of years, but it has only gone a short way to fixing the problem. Its enabled me to stay awake long enough to get done what I need to at work, but after 1-2pm I get so "zombied" (without medication) that I can't function at all. I believe its possible to have both OSA and narcolepsy, but my docs wont consider it. I've been reduced to self-medicating with modafinil which is also only partially effective. I can get home from work safely, at least. Its a horrible thing to have, because you feel like you only have a fraction of a life.

    • profile image

      Ramiro Garcia 

      8 years ago

      I know I have this condition (narcolepsy) and this has cause my relationship in both marriages. There were many times I fell asleep or black out while driving. Sometime I think I am depress but I am just trying to stay awake and look sad or upset and throws my sleeping times off.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)