Medical Questions > Mental Health > Sleep Disorders Forum

Do I Have Narcolepsy?

I have just dismissed my problems for a few years assuming it is simply lack of sleep or something of the sort. However, I think I may have some kind of problem. I almost always get plenty of sleep, about 8-9 hours. However, I fall asleep in class nearly every day. I also fall asleep often when reading. And I often get sleepy when driving and have fallen asleep at the wheel more than once.

The sleeping in class and reading I don't think are typical, though they could be. I fall asleep in classes that I want to stay awake in. It's frusturating and I fight it, but I can never, ever stay awake. I don't know if diet has anything to do with it, it might, though the problem seems to be consist despite changes in diet.

If anyone has any insight, or any suggestions as to what I can do, please let me know. Thanks.

-brandon
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First Helper amie1281
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replied October 5th, 2004
Hi brandon - I don't have any personal experience of your problem -- mine is exactly the opposite. I often wake up and can't fall back asleep at night for precisely 2 hours. And I have never, ever been able to fall asleep during the day no matter how tired I am, except if I have just got off a plane and I am in a different time zone, or if I am actually physically ill and have a fever. Apparently I stopped sleeping in the daytime as a baby, before I was even a year old. The number of times I wish I could just have a nap for 20 minutes, but I can't...Anyway...There was a television programme about narcoleptics on recently, and it sounds like what you are describing, but some of these people had it really severely -- they couldn't stay awake for more than about an hour at a time. Have you spoken to your doctor? My only bit of advice would probably be to stop driving!
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replied October 26th, 2004
Falling Asleep
Had a customer that had narcolepsy. Do you feel as if you loose control of your muscles during these periods? Does it happen if you become emotional, either happy or sad? Emotion tends to be a trigger.
You actually sound as if sameness or boredom puts you to sleep. That's kind of how we go to sleep anyway. At one time I had to practice self hypnosis to sleep and I was told to hold one visual image and practice relaxation and I would always go to sleep. It works. Lots of people fall asleep while driving, it's called road hypnosis. Don't have a cure for it, just suggestions.
My customer took ritalin for her narcolepsy, maybe lots of caffine would work for you as it's also a stimulant.
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replied January 3rd, 2005
Only a Psg Will Reveal Narcolepsy And Other Possible Problem
Brandon,

have you had a sleep test or saught help from a sleep physician? That would be my first step.

Do you nap frequently (other than sleeping in class) during the day? Sleeping in class, falling asleep when reading and being tired while driving are all signs one may be narcoleptic. However, you mentioned being well rested getting 8 or 9 hours of sleep. Just because it's that long, does not make it quality sleep. A psg would determine any possible sleep apnea (whichever degree it may be). Based on you're sleep onset time, could make you a candidate for narcolepsy. So you see, one can't be certain with at least seeing a sleep specialist, who will in turn arrange a sleep study. From past experience, I would try seeing a neurologist and see if he can recommend a sleep specialist for you.

I hope this helps somewhat and good luck. Futhermore, be careful on the road.

The breeze
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replied August 11th, 2005
Hey man, I have something similar, it runs in my famliy. I get enough sleep each night, but if I want to I can fall asleap anywhere any time... I have been know to fall asleap in class, on the school bus, thinkfully not while driving a vehicle but family members have done that so it might just be a matter of time. When I fall aslep in class its usually becuase it's too warm in the class. If you can get out, try getting some fresh air or somerhting cold for ur face... Something to shock ur system, or atleast get it running. And you'll be awake again
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replied August 12th, 2005
Same Thing Here
I know what you mean exactly. It doesn't matter how much sleep I get at night, i'll still go through periods of extreme exhaustion. Usually in the mornings. I have a hard time staying awake at work, and have to ask for relief because I just can't keep my eyes open no matter how busy I am. I won't tell you my profession, because it would scare the crap out of you.

I used to try to stand up to avoid falling asleep, but I stopped doing that after I fell over a few times. I've fallen asleep at the wheel for brief periods of time, luckly never getting into an accident. Even though I can tell myself "if I fall asleep, I will die!" my head still bobs up and down, and I have to pull over. Runs in my family because my cousin died this way (asleep at the wheel).

Caffeen has never done any good for me. If anything, it makes me more tired. I can drink all the coffee I want, then still fall asleep minutes later. Problem is, when I want to sleep, I offen can't. I layed in bed for 5 hours last night to no avail. But that's because I am going through a tough break-up.
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replied August 13th, 2005
Ahhh i'm all too familiar with the good old head bob... My grandfather once fell asleap at the wheel of a tractor, fliped it and was found asleap upside down still buckeled in. When i'm in class and I fall asleap (usually woken by the teacher throwing something at me) I just get up and do something, that usually helps much better than caffeen. Actually so much so that I stopped drinking caffeen altogeather and if anything it's made me better at staying awake in the long run, after that short buzz.
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replied November 2nd, 2005
I Am Pretty Sure I Am Narcoleptic Too
I can identify with both brandon and lactose intolerant. I have micro-sleeps during the day and cannot cope at work, reading and public transport set me off as do boring meetings and passive activities. Sometimes I have to creep off to the toilet where I lay down on the concrete and sleep for 5-10 minutes. Adversely when I need to sleep I cannot! At night sometimes I watch the clock tick all night, other times I will get around 5 hours of mostly disrupted sleep, waking very early in the mornings around 5am and tossing and turning till my alarm goes off. I hate this! I have lost my libido and have become anti-social. I think I have suffered insomnia chronically for 6 years, I think when insomnia becomes chronic it affects your body clock and hence narcolepsy sets in, it is like your body's desperate way of compensating for lack of sleep during the day through excessive daytime sleepiness. I used to always fall asleep in afternoon lectures, with my sleepiness peaking at 2pm. I agree caffeine just does more damage. Godammit I want a cure for this! Has anyone had any good experiences with sleep clinics, therapies, drug, medications or other remedies. Please tell me!
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replied February 3rd, 2009
Wheat!
Hi Brandon,
I too have had many of the same symptoms you have explained. I always fell asleep in class, and especially while driving. When I got tired it wasn't as though I could help not falling asleep. I felt as though my whole body was shutting down.
I finally figured out through a battery of test that I'm allergic to wheat. Now I stay away from all kinds of different wheats. this makes eating hard because everything has wheat in it. But on the flip side I don't fall asleep at the drop of a hat any more. My brain is clearer and I seem to think better. Although I have to say before I didn't know I had a foggy brain because I had been eating wheat all of my life. Try it for two weeks and see if it makes a difference. Now I know for sure if I've had any wheat by accident because the next day I randomly fall asleep.
Things to stay way from:
bread, pasta, hot dogs, most sweets and I'm sure a few other things that I can't think of right now.
Hope this helps!
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replied April 7th, 2014
Sounds worth a try.
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