Essay by IllonaLevina February 2007

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Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder with no known cause. The most frequent effect of narcolepsy is constant and overpowering sleepiness during the daytime, even after a sufficient amount of nighttime sleep. Usually a person with narcolepsy falls asleep inappropriate times and places. More than 1 in 2,000 Americans are affected by narcolepsy. It is most common that most individuals with this disease are not treated because they are not diagnosed. Narcolepsy causes a person to not receive the full amount of proper rest they need because of the amount of REM sleep they require decreases. REM sleep is the rapid-eye movement sleep. In this time period brain waves begin to show more active patterns. The reason REM sleep decreases is because in order to reach REM sleep you must sleep for about 90 minutes. During narcolepsy these sleeping periods are interrupted and do not allow a person to achieve the restful sleep they need.

The symptoms of narcolepsy include excessive daytime sleepiness and abnormal REM sleep. Other symptoms of narcolepsy include sleep paralysis,# hypnologic hallucinations,# ad cataplexy.# Warning signs of narcolepsy include great urges of sleepiness during the daytime, falling asleep at inappropriate times, neck muscles feel to weak to hold up your head or brief moments of being unable to speak.

The pattern of sleep for a person who does not suffer any sleeping disorder begins with NREM sleep# and moves on to REM sleep. However a person who suffers from narcolepsy has a sleeping pattern that is disturbed. Narcolepsy effects the length and order of the NREM and REM sleep. The brain of a person with narcolepsy does not pass through the normal stages of dozing and deep sleep but goes directly into and out of REM sleep. Such a dysfunctions has several consequences. These consequences include,