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Sleep Attack Trigger? Someting Else?


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#1 eww

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 11:35 PM

I have a question. I know there is much ado about what triggers cataplexy. Some people allow for a much greater variety of triggers while many are quite strict in defining "classical" or "typical" cataplexy. But do sleep attacks have triggers? And what is the actual difference between a sleep attack and cataplexy? Is it just the trigger mechanism, emotion for one and... whatever (or nothing) for the other?

I do have a reason for asking. One day last week, I was overcome with weirdness. I had a "thing". Whatever you want to call it, I dunno. I was in a dollar store with poor lighting. In fact the lights (only in the specific aisle I needed of course *shakes fist*) were flickering. At first I thought it was me. Not causing them to flicker *giggles* but rather seeing flickering lights instead of normally functioning lights. I was feeling a bit drowsy before this, actually planning to find a comfy seat after I was done. Anywho, sometimes before a sleep attack my vision gets blurry. But this was not the case. The lights made me dizzy and woozy and I got that headrush feeling. So I quickly stumbled out of the store, letting 2 employees know about the lights on my way out. It was like a sleep attack. Jelly and couldn't talk. I found a bench and did a little awkward sideways leaning as my eyes closed and I started "napping". I could hear everything going on and I was completely conscious (I think, I mean I can't be sure that I wasn't out of it for bits of time. During my MSLT I didn't think I'd fallen asleep at all). It was odd because I was aware that I could feel my eyes flickering. I have no idea what it would look like from someone else perspective, but I could FEEL them. And the only thing I could think of was that it all started with the stupid lights. Can lights do that? Was I having a seizure??? If I was having a seizure would I be able to mentally debate whether or not I was having a seizure???

I don't know how long that lasted. I was fighting it the whole time. Couldn't have been more than... maybe 5 minutes. I don't know, I'm bad with time. But after I "woke up" I still felt like I was in the middle of a sleep attack. Still Jello-y. I ended up at Guest Services and asked for somewhere to just lay down. They were trying to figure out where I could go, calling security. I told them I'd be fine in 20 minutes but I needed to lie down now. In the end they were really good and I flopped on the floor for 5-10 minutes. But I could hear them and feel and was aware enough to take mental notes about concerns they were having that I could address when I "woke up".

So then I did wake up. Right as rain. Happy and all that jazz.

But what the.....

What was that? Even now I have to conclude that the lights had something to do with it. I was only in that aisle for a minute and it was noticeable decline right after. And it wasn't a normal sleep attack either. Those I'm used to. Sorta. But this was two pseudo-naps in one episode.

Now I'm kinda paranoid that I was having some kind of seizure. It hasn't happened since though. Just "normal" abnormal sleep stuff.

#2 Marcianna

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 05:27 AM

There has actually been some interesting theories regarding lighting and N, especially if it is florescent lighting... I myself have issues with that. like it is a certain frequency of flicker that sets me off.... I really dont know much about it, but I know that Charles (Chuck) Forcht was plannning on doing some research this year about it. He is on my friends list on Facebook if you want to look him up and ask him any questions. We once had an extremely long and interesting conversation about it...so I an attest that he is at least on the right track....

#3 angellus

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 01:16 PM

QUOTE (Marcianna @ Jun 8 2009, 06:27 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There has actually been some interesting theories regarding lighting and N, especially if it is florescent lighting... I myself have issues with that. like it is a certain frequency of flicker that sets me off.... I really dont know much about it, but I know that Charles (Chuck) Forcht was plannning on doing some research this year about it. He is on my friends list on Facebook if you want to look him up and ask him any questions. We once had an extremely long and interesting conversation about it...so I an attest that he is at least on the right track....


honestly.. i have not ever seen a pattern to my sleep attacks..i did crash today in walmart... zoned out and walked around in a stupor till i realized what was happening.. but getting into the sunlight did not help.. I know if it happens I just have to ride it out.

Before i knew it was narcolepsy i thought i was having carb over load.. then i went on atkins... still happened... then i thought i was allergic to diet coke or nutrasweet.. casue i would get sleepy after i drank one.. or so i thought so i eliminated that from my diet... but of course it still happend..

now i just know.. i go into a stupor...and try not to hurt myself or others.. sigh..

#4 malachi777

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 05:49 PM

Eww, I guess that is typical with narcolepsy thinking you are awake because you hear what is going on around you but others tell you you were snoring. I frequently argue with my kids and fiance' telling them that I was awake and heard their conversations. They freak out when I tell them what they were talking about. Now the fluorescent lighting does make me very sleepy fast. I know that this type of lighting flashes so fast that we cannot see it on most occasions. Flashing lights tend to put humans in a zone if you stare at it long enough. Unfortunately, it could be used as kryptonite against narcoleptics.

#5 eww

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 01:02 PM

"could be used as kryptonite against narcoleptics"

This thought makes me giggle.

And then picture "Narc-Man" as a comic book superhero starring in such raucous adventures as "Oh, The Wrongs I Will Avenge When I Wake Up!" and "Planning Doesn't Require Consciousness, Evildoer!" Fortunately it would be a pretty family-friendly comic, as most of the frames would show Narc-Man asleep. But he would be listening in on the plots being formed while the bad guys think they have caught him unawares and valiantly counter-plotting to foil their nefarious (or more likely with an opponent such as Narc-Man, moderately irritating) shenanigans.

End scene.


Back in reality, it's nice to know that others out there know what I mean and it always feels nice to be assured you're not crazy. Or seizing. LOL. I will now add "research fluorescent light flickering/narcolepsy" to my list of things to do. Nifty.

#6 WillWork4Latte

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 01:33 PM

QUOTE (eww @ Jun 10 2009, 01:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
And then picture "Narc-Man" as a comic book superhero starring in such raucous adventures as "Oh, The Wrongs I Will Avenge When I Wake Up!" and "Planning Doesn't Require Consciousness, Evildoer!" Fortunately it would be a pretty family-friendly comic, as most of the frames would show Narc-Man asleep. But he would be listening in on the plots being formed while the bad guys think they have caught him unawares and valiantly counter-plotting to foil their nefarious (or more likely with an opponent such as Narc-Man, moderately irritating) shenanigans.

End scene.


And how 'bout those Narc-Man fight sequences?: BAM! WHAM! ZZZZZZ!
biggrin.gif

#7 eww

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 08:57 PM

You know it's funny when you flip your fork and throw rice all over yourself. I've decided that's my new standard for humour. And no, I'm claiming my mother never did tell me not to play with my food.


Oooh!! I think one of Narc-Man's superpowers should be the ability to avoid being hit by bullets!! He excels at turning to jelly and wobbling around them...

Not exactly "faster than a speeding bullet" but I'd take it.

#8 jenji

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 09:51 PM

There should be a mandate that all fluorescent lighting show be immediately taken down and relocated, say into prisons, and replaced by proper lighting, for fluorescent lighting serves only two purposes:

1. to trigger migraine headaches and/or narcoleptic attacks et al.

or

2. to implore women to wear a head to toe snowsuit to the beach in the summer once she gets a four-way look at herself in a bathing suit at the local (insert department store here). Not even Heidi Klum could get away with fluorescent lighting, umkay? Fact.

Fluorescent lighting requires uber processing of our brains and so it's of no surprise that it's rough on a neurological illness. I'm exhausted twice as fast if I have to deal with fluorescent lighting in any capacity.

jenji

#9 Lais02

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 12:00 AM

I've never thought to blame the lighting on my N problems. This makes sense to be a trigger of them though, because most of my sleep attacks happened in school. Schools use fluorescent lighting. I also always thought I never fell asleep in school, I was sure I was awake and just resting my eyes. I was shocked when the doctor told me I fell asleep in all of my naps during my nap study too.

#10 with waking nightmares...

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 02:46 AM

Those kind of attacks happen to me quite often, especially in big stores with fluorescent lights. All of a sudden, I get really sleepy, and have to get out of there right away so I can lie down. That used to happen in school as well, which also had the same kind of lights.
It happened a lot like you described...I was still partly conscious and could hear what was going on. Another time, I collapsed on a shopping cart momentarily. I don't know if it was the lights that triggered the attack, or if the attack was happening anyway, and the lights somehow prevented me from going to sleep fully. Or maybe the lights had nothing to do with it, and I was just extremely sleepy. But it does feel like things like that trigger sleep attacks more than being in other situations would.

#11 Irishhh

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 01:52 PM

I've had this problem forever too! I always blamed extreme tiredness on flourescent lights, as they always seemed to make things worse. I also had this problem in school. and work, where I'm working now. They even make colors look weird to me sometimes. Hate flourescents! I don't know what is in them that causes us problems, but I really wish they were never invented.

Oh, and the flickering ones, I can't be around them. Those totally mess me up.

#12 with waking nightmares...

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 03:54 PM

Is it just fluorescent lights that cause this problem for you? How do regular lightbulbs affect you? Or what about sunlight?

#13 chimbakka

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 09:31 PM

I have a question. I know there is much ado about what triggers cataplexy. Some people allow for a much greater variety of triggers while many are quite strict in defining "classical" or "typical" cataplexy. But do sleep attacks have triggers? And what is the actual difference between a sleep attack and cataplexy? Is it just the trigger mechanism, emotion for one and... whatever (or nothing) for the other?

ok im gonna respond to this then read the rest of the reponses/posts because im tired. so if i repeat stuff already said forgive me... this is just my take/how i relate to your post smile.gif I tend to get sleep attacks at similar times of the day. ALSO any stress will put me into one. like even talking about stuff that stresses me out. for this reason i keep a to do list so i don't ever have to THINK about what i have to do more than once. when i have time i just pick up the list and do what things i can. then forget about it

I do have a reason for asking. One day last week, I was overcome with weirdness. I had a "thing". Whatever you want to call it, I dunno. I was in a dollar store with poor lighting. In fact the lights (only in the specific aisle I needed of course *shakes fist*) were flickering. At first I thought it was me. Not causing them to flicker *giggles* but rather seeing flickering lights instead of normally functioning lights. I was feeling a bit drowsy before this, actually planning to find a comfy seat after I was done. Anywho, sometimes before a sleep attack my vision gets blurry. But this was not the case. The lights made me dizzy and woozy and I got that headrush feeling. So I quickly stumbled out of the store, letting 2 employees know about the lights on my way out. It was like a sleep attack. Jelly and couldn't talk. I found a bench and did a little awkward sideways leaning as my eyes closed and I started "napping". I could hear everything going on and I was completely conscious (I think, I mean I can't be sure that I wasn't out of it for bits of time. During my MSLT I didn't think I'd fallen asleep at all). It was odd because I was aware that I could feel my eyes flickering. I have no idea what it would look like from someone else perspective, but I could FEEL them. And the only thing I could think of was that it all started with the stupid lights. Can lights do that? Was I having a seizure??? If I was having a seizure would I be able to mentally debate whether or not I was having a seizure???

often if i do get the chance to close my eyes during a sleep attack my eyelids will feel like they are flickering. the only way to stop it is if i can have something against them, like if im at home i put them against a pillow or blanket. almost like if there is bright light on with my eyes closed, but even if im in a dark room or have something over my head it happens... also my body sometimes feels jumpy like that too if im really sleepy and or if im having/orgetting over a cataplexy attack. the main difference for me for sleep attacks vs cat attacks (at least for how i define them/separate them) is that during cat attacks i get really shaky and uncoordinated. also VERY head-wooshy (easiest i can describe it is if you have 3-4 shots at one, then wait and when they all of a sudden HIT you kind of feeling) and i have a VERY hard time focusing (like say for driving - my eyesight jumps around or i cant seem to get the whole picture of whats around me absorbed into my brain) (NO I DONT DRIVE LIKE THIS - it rarely happens that i get cat attacks this bad only like once every few months. actually i had one last week and left my car in a plaza and got someone to bring me home then take me back after soi could finish driving to work - two hours late :S). sometimes i'll get little attacks where i'll be holding something and my hand will just release it and stuff like that. it's wierd, i dont seem to have a specific trigger. the day i said about leaving my car im pretty sure it happened bc i haven't had much of an appetite and didn't eat yet that day - i think my bg was low.

I don't know how long that lasted. I was fighting it the whole time. Couldn't have been more than... maybe 5 minutes. I don't know, I'm bad with time. But after I "woke up" I still felt like I was in the middle of a sleep attack. Still Jello-y. I ended up at Guest Services and asked for somewhere to just lay down. They were trying to figure out where I could go, calling security. I told them I'd be fine in 20 minutes but I needed to lie down now. In the end they were really good and I flopped on the floor for 5-10 minutes. But I could hear them and feel and was aware enough to take mental notes about concerns they were having that I could address when I "woke up".

i find that if i have to push through either a cat or sleep attack it will last FOREVER.. but if i can JUST get into at least phase one rem (i can still hear everything too then) for five minutes im ok. like a computer that just needs the reset button pushed. the other day when i got home i crashed on the couch for 20 min after calling owrk crying my eyes out like a drunken *** lol then got up forced myself to eat and was pretty well ok, then waited a few min and i was fine. and once i got into actual sleep... oh man it was like a brain orgasm LOL like AAAHHH perfect! *reset button pushed - starting back up*
So then I did wake up. Right as rain. Happy and all that jazz.

But what the.....

What was that? Even now I have to conclude that the lights had something to do with it. I was only in that aisle for a minute and it was noticeable decline right after. And it wasn't a normal sleep attack either. Those I'm used to. Sorta. But this was two pseudo-naps in one episode.

Now I'm kinda paranoid that I was having some kind of seizure. It hasn't happened since though. Just "normal" abnormal sleep stuff.
lights like that def. set me off. even if im ok, but not GREAT, if i go into dept. stores with flourescent lights it can set me off... i have to basically hold the edge of the cart while mark leads me around the store like a kid LOL. or he'll find me in an isle staring for like 30 min trying to figure out what im picking out. (once i walked to thes tore to get ice cream... then realized i was in there like an hour picking out a flavour... yeah now i don't go anywhere even walking when im out of it lol)

i hope u feel better and hopefully you wont get attacks like that too often. i just wanted to shar my experience with u because i get similar things, and i dont want u to think u are having seizures. smile.gif

#14 chimbakka

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 09:37 PM

stupid lights makes so much sense. i ALWAYS feel like poop at work. i can go out for a bit and feel better but then soon i feel like poop again.
stupid lights. and we cant even open the blinds becasue we are on the first floor and everyone outside could see into the clinic and watch what we are doing
boo
i wonder if there is some sort of eyewear that helps with this?



#15 eww

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 11:01 PM

Sheesh, hearing all of the responses makes me feel much better.

And actually now that I think about it, Shopper's Drugmart always makes me feel funny. I can wander around drugstores for an hour. And grocery stores. It's gotta be the fluorescent lights. That's the only connecting factor I can see. Except it's not a bad feeling per se. Just... spacey. It's what I imagine getting "buzzed" would feel like. Spacey and dippy and generally staring at inanimate objects not having a clue what I'm doing. When the lights flicker though... man. Evil. I've never had anything quite that weird happen. Dizzy, loopy and what have you sure but that was flat out crazy.

I pretty much decided that I wasn't having a seizure when I realized that I was analysing the possibility of it being a seizure WHILE it was happening. I figured if it was a proper seizure I'd be unconscious. Or at least unable to reason my way out of it. Reassurance is always nice though.

And as for other lights, I don't notice much of a problem. I don't like BRIGHT lights though. Ironically, sunshine in the the winter is the worst when everything is covered in white snow and the sun shines brightly the world can seem almost reflective in it's vibrancy. Out west it's worse then where I live. Smog has it's uses. laugh.gif I doubt that's a Narcolepsy thing though. I hate loud noises and clothing tags and other sensory annoyances like that. It's more of an overexcitability thing. But I'd be interested in others thoughts on the subject.

#16 chimbakka

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 12:13 PM

QUOTE (eww @ Jun 17 2009, 09:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sheesh, hearing all of the responses makes me feel much better.

And actually now that I think about it, Shopper's Drugmart always makes me feel funny. I can wander around drugstores for an hour. And grocery stores. It's gotta be the fluorescent lights. That's the only connecting factor I can see. Except it's not a bad feeling per se. Just... spacey. It's what I imagine getting "buzzed" would feel like. Spacey and dippy and generally staring at inanimate objects not having a clue what I'm doing. When the lights flicker though... man. Evil. I've never had anything quite that weird happen. Dizzy, loopy and what have you sure but that was flat out crazy.

I pretty much decided that I wasn't having a seizure when I realized that I was analysing the possibility of it being a seizure WHILE it was happening. I figured if it was a proper seizure I'd be unconscious. Or at least unable to reason my way out of it. Reassurance is always nice though.

And as for other lights, I don't notice much of a problem. I don't like BRIGHT lights though. Ironically, sunshine in the the winter is the worst when everything is covered in white snow and the sun shines brightly the world can seem almost reflective in it's vibrancy. Out west it's worse then where I live. Smog has it's uses. laugh.gif I doubt that's a Narcolepsy thing though. I hate loud noises and clothing tags and other sensory annoyances like that. It's more of an overexcitability thing. But I'd be interested in others thoughts on the subject.


ah snow with sun is the worse!! i also hate when it rains a lot at night and the lights reflect off the road and what not... then i drive like an old grampa lol

#17 sleepless sleeper

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 05:26 PM

QUOTE (Irishhh @ Jun 16 2009, 12:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've had this problem forever too! I always blamed extreme tiredness on flourescent lights, as they always seemed to make things worse. I also had this problem in school. and work, where I'm working now. They even make colors look weird to me sometimes. Hate flourescents! I don't know what is in them that causes us problems, but I really wish they were never invented.

Oh, and the flickering ones, I can't be around them. Those totally mess me up.


my too

#18 sleepless sleeper

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 05:31 PM

QUOTE (with waking nightmares... @ Jun 17 2009, 02:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Is it just fluorescent lights that cause this problem for you? How do regular lightbulbs affect you? Or what about sunlight?


regular lightbulbs ok for me. sunlight = BEST, but who doesn't like some good ole sunshine in their lives?

hubs wants flouro bulbs used in house. he doesn't understand how they annoy me, make me feel badly. The flickering and the nonwhite light don't bother him. Supposedly there's flouro bulbs now that are white, and we have them. I have yet to experience the nonflickering white light from them, though. We compromised: flouro in kitchen, flouro in the bathroom he uses, in the reading lamp he uses, and half fluoro/half regular in living room.

I like 100W bulbs, but they are energy wasters.

#19 sleepless sleeper

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 05:33 PM

QUOTE (chimbakka @ Jun 18 2009, 11:13 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
ah snow with sun is the worse!! i also hate when it rains a lot at night and the lights reflect off the road and what not... then i drive like an old grampa lol


I was going to include this in my last post, sorry for multiple posts...

HEY, THAT'S ME!

#20 ragtimegal

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 03:44 PM

Strobing flourescent lights have a negetive effect on me too. They also give off an almost inaudible high frequency, high-pitched sound. I can hear it! My daughter, a non-narcoleptic gets migraines from cheap store lighting. You should tell your neurologist what happened. Store carpet and other chemical smells can trigger an attack, too. I've had to pull off the road and take a 20 minute snooze when only 3 blocks from home after being in a store with flourescent lights. Still, you should tell your neurologist. It might be significant.