5 Helpful Tips for People Diagnosed With Narcolepsy

May 7th 2016

Short Naps

Narcolepsy can cause patients to experience uncontrollable sleep attacks that send them into a deep, rapid eye movement sleep instantly. Short, prescribed naps throughout the day can help to decrease the number of sleep attacks and increase energy. People with narcolepsy should carefully plan naps around their work or school obligations to refresh themselves as needed.

Eliminate Caffeine

Narcolepsy can cause the body to feel like it is on a roller coaster, especially when people experience extreme bouts of sleepiness one minute and bursts of energy the next. Caffeine can make the condition worse and cause narcoleptic patients to have more frequent periods of highs and lows while disrupting the nightly sleep schedule. Narcoleptics should avoid coffee, caffeinated beverages and energy drinks to minimize the occurrence of unexpected sleep attacks.

Choose Food Carefully

The food and nourishment that narcoleptics consume play an important role in controlling symptoms. Individuals with this condition should eliminate sugar from the diet to avoid bursts of energy followed by energy crashes. Sugar causes highs and lows in the body's metabolic process. Foods with preservatives are difficult to digest and can cause the body to become even more tired, increasing the risks of daytime sleepiness. People with narcolepsy should choose foods that are natural and organic to avoid artificial sweeteners and chemicals from prompting skyrocketing blood sugars that can affect energy levels.

Exercise Regularly

People with narcolepsy benefit from activity and exercise because it keeps the muscles toned and creates energy that can combat extreme daytime sleepiness. A strong, healthy body helps muscles convert calories into energy, which keeps patients with narcolepsy awake, focused and alert.

Take Precautions

Dangers exist for people with narcolepsy, especially when operating equipment or a motorized vehicle. To prevent the risk of an accident as a result of a sleep attack, people with narcolepsy should take a short nap and then stretch and walk around before attempting to drive. Also, they should make frequent stops to boost energy. People with narcolepsy should avoid driving at all or alone during times when sleep attacks commonly occur.


People diagnosed with narcolepsy experience extreme daytime sleepiness and exhaustion that can interfere with daily activities and routines. Narcolepsy affects the ability to work, have relationships, attend school, concentrate and drive. Although there is no cure for narcolepsy, individuals can find ways to cope with the condition and live a fulfilling and safe life.

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