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Old 07-20-2010, 12:59 AM   #1
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I'm always falling asleep. Could it be Narcolepsy?

I am constantly falling asleep or dozing off. The only way for me to not fall asleep is if I'm being active. (I.e. washing dishes, grocery shopping, driving.) Otherwise just sitting or laying down causes me to fall asleep. I am super tired all day long. I will be awake for an hour or two and have to take a 3 hour nap. And afterwards again I will be sleepy after being up for about two hours or so. There are times when I'm dozing off and I get startled because I see something moving. I know that narcolepsy can sometimes cause hallucinations. There have been two occasions. One a couple of years ago and the most recent one a few months ago where I wake up but I can't move. My body won't let me talk, sit up, turn over...nothing. But that's only been twice. I don't know if sleep paralysis happens all the time in people with narcolepsy,

I do have a hectic schedule so I don't know if that might be playing a role. I go to bed at about 1 a.m. wake up at 3 a.m. to make my husband lunch. Go back to bed at around 6 a.m. after he leaves and wake up at about 10 or 11 when my son wakes up.

What are some tips on how to not fall asleep? How do you handle being sleepy all the time?

 
Old 07-21-2010, 06:57 AM   #2
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Re: I'm always falling asleep. Could it be Narcolepsy?

Hello, My thoughts are:
1) get tested for anemia, thyroid problems, vitamin D deficiency, ask about the possibility of sleep apnea, take the doctor's advice regarding anything else he/she wants to check.

2) 1 a.m. might be much too late a bedtime for your personal "circadian rhythm." Waking again at 3:00 a.m. is probably making you even more "out of whack." Try a 10:30 - 11:00 pm bedtime EVERY night for awhile. If you can't, try to switch your work hours at least somewhat, do whatever you have to to get to bed earlier. (I used to go to bed 1:00 - 2:00 a.m. and had the same problem as you. I would get 8 hours of sleep, but I still wanted to sleep ALL the time and couldn't understand how everyone else kept their eyes open. I have much more energy now, having shifted my bedtime earlier to 10:30 - 11:00 pm most nights.)

DON'T wake at 3:00 a.m. and interrupt your sleep. Make your husband's lunch the night before so that you can get a full, uninterrupted night's sleep.

3) Do you drink coffee in the mornings? If so, try slowly weaning off in case you are one of those people who actually get more tired from caffeine. If not, consider trying 1 cup in the mornings. (With your doctor's okay.) Fresh ground beans you grind yourself work best for me. Drinking just 1 cup each morning really seems to help my energy but make sure you ask the doctor first.

4) Is it possible you have a depression and/or anxiety issue? I mean this in a really nice way. If you battle depression/anxiety, it will simply exhaust you, and it is NOT your fault. Be honest with yourself, and consider if this is also something you need to talk to your doctor about.

5) Are you taking any medication that might be causing "fatigue" as a side-effect?

To me, it doesn't sound like narcolepsy but more a lifestyle issue (especially the late bedtime and then waking again at 3:00 a.m. No wonder you are always tired!)

However, I would not rule out a possible physical cause. For example, if you snore sometimes while sleeping (or are told you stop breathing sometimes while sleeping, or you're overweight, or if you just suspect you have it) that could be a sign of sleep apnea, and you need to get a sleep study done. If you almost never spend time in the sunlight or even if you do, you could be deficient in vitamin D and/or without sunlight exposure daily, your circadian rhythm can become unbalanced. If you have hypothyroidism, that will obviously leave you exhausted. I have read that food sensitivities can cause fatigue. And so forth.

Who knows--maybe it is a combination of things, but rule out medical reasons with a doctor AND make some lifestyle changes. I know it's very difficult to change your bedtime and lifestyle, but it might be the answer.

True narcolepsy is incredibly rare.-- it would mean you fell asleep even while washing dishes, taking a shower, etc., not just when sitting down.

Best of luck. I really hope things get better for you and you find a solution/answer.
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