People with narcolepsy may suddenly fall into REM sleep and wake up directly from it. This causes vivid dreams while waking-up, falling-asleep, and may cause muscle weakness. Sometimes, narcolepsy patients fall asleep suddenly during the middle of talking, eating, or another activity.
Facts about Narcolepsy
Sleep cycle has two important phases; they are non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM). Most people start their sleep with NREM phase and after about 90 minutes of sleep, they will move from NREM to REM sleep.
Dreaming occurs during the REM sleep and the muscles normally become limp during this phase, this prevents from acting out of dreams.
People with narcolepsy often fall into REM sleep quickly and wake up directly from it. This is a link to vivid dreams and muscle weakness.
A chemical called by “Hypocretin” helps control wakefulness people who have narcolepsy have low levels of hypocretin.
Researchers suggest certain factors may work together to cause a low level of hypocretin. That include genetic; brain injuries; contact with toxins, such as pesticides; and autoimmune disorders (the immune system mistakenly attacks own body's cells).
Symptoms mostly begin during the teen or young adult years. Due to sleep dept and extreme daytime tiredness, people with narcolepsy may find it difficult to perform at school and work.
Narcolepsy has no known cure; but medications, lifestyle changes, and other therapies can help improve its symptoms.