Getting A Bit Concerned

4 posts in this topic

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to be as thorough as possible.

I recently fell asleep at work. I have done this a few times at my desk and it was only for a minute or so. We work in quite a relaxed office so noone really said anything, and I was aware of my surroundings the whole time I felt but when I came to I joked about narcolepsy.

In reality id felt like this a few times over the past few months. Im 26 and had previously connected it to eating sugary food. I'm generally fit and healthy so it seemed whenever I had ice cream or something out of the ordinary is have a 'sugar crash' and get incredibly tired ery quickly. After my narcolepsy joke I had a look on google at the symptoms and, not to be a hypocondriac, was a bit concerned.

See out of the four symptoms, I had a few too many to be comfortable with. Whilst I have never had what id call cataplexy, thinking back I have had a few impromptu naps. Mainly at work in the past year or so, occasionally in school. I wouldn't say I had excessive sleepiness but my job is high intensity and long hours.

The main ones that concern me are the sleep paralysis and hypnagogic hallucinations. I have had sleep paralysis for years and read up on it in my teens so it never struck me as odd or uncommon. I also found out that when I don't sleep on my back it didn't happen nearly as often, although sleeping in strange places such as my office I would still have incidents.

What struck a chord is that in the past few months I've had a few incidents that are apparently unique to narcolepsy. These involve sleep paralysis at the onset of sleep, which happens often as I drift off on my back or if I'm on a couch or something sleeping when I shouldn't, and hallucinations when trying to sleep. These commonly involve waking up an hour or so after starting to sleep with my heart racing and struggling to focus in the dark. The shadows in my room form figures, often my brain will either tell me these are my flatmate in my room, or else I get panicked and turn on my light. After my lamp comes on it takes a few seconds to focus on the absurdity of the situation, but this I thought was just the shock of waking up suddenly.

I remember a time when I was 18 when I first had a memorable one of these. I woke up seeing a small black ball next to my head with kind of tentacles coming off it. I jumped out of my bed and turned on my lamp but the ball was still there. I knew I was awake and my heart was racing. I threw my quilt on it before a few seconds passes and the absurdity of what was happening dawned on me. I looked again and obviously nothing was there, but the whole incident freaked me out. This is almost identical to what has happened lately.

These things happen a few times a week and I'm starting to put the pieces together. I would say they happen more after a night at the gym which involves drinking a pre workout energy drink full of stimulants which may exasperate the symptoms, but I doubt this could be seen as a cause. I anything I can only see this making them worse.

Should I see somebody? Or continue to wait and monitor my symptoms?

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Going to the doctor is like asking if you have to go to the bathroom: If you have to ask, it's time to go.

Yes. If you think you may have narcolepsy, or even if you don't, but have these symptoms, you should see a doctor, get a sleep study done, and find out what's up. After all, treating it- even if it isn't narcolepsy- can only improve your life and your work performance, right?

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It sounds as if you lead a very busy life, and have some stress as well. Stress can bring on SP and HH. I noticed that you said you do not feel like you have EDS, and having the excessive daytime sleepyness is something that all N have. I would talk to your PCP and see if they feel like you need to see a sleep doctor. If they see fit you will do some super fun sleep test (not really) and will have a better idea of what could be going on.

Do you feel like you get a good nights rest? Many of us, although we are tried all the time can't seem to sleep through the night, or we sleep 12 hours and still are sleepy. I used to wake 20+ times a night! YUCK

I find when I nap I have the most SP as well as when I lay on my back. I try to sleep on my side and also make sure I have steady white noise when I sleep. Caffeine definitely makes it worse if I try to nap!

I hope you are able to get some answers!

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If I were you I would definitely see a doctor, preferably a neurologist with experience treating narcolepsy, or even just sleep disorders. The symptom that caused me to seek treatment was sleep paralysis. I'd had episodes every once in a while as a kid, but they got crazy frequent on Christmas 2010. I had what turned out to be my first (and only so far!) full body cataplexy attack that morning. (I thought I'd had a small seizure, my family and the ER doctor thought I'd just passed out from low blood sugar...never mind I'd already stuffed myself full of Christmas cookies :rolleyes: ). That night I had six episodes of sleep paralysis. Since then I've had them on a near nightly basis, often with one almost immediately leading to another. Long story short, it took 6+ doctors to figure out what was wrong, but when I found the right doctor he diagnosed me before he even shook my hand. He talked to me about my unexplained collapses, knees giving out, clumsiness or slurring of words when I get emotional, and hypnogogic hallucinations. When I saw him I wasn't sure if I really had hallucinations or cataplexy, but between then and my MSLT I began noticing definite cataplexy in my hands and knees, as well as auditory hallucinations at the onset of sleep. Two weeks later I got my diagnosis.

Even if you don't have EDS, I'd see a neuro. (I didn't consider myself more tired than anyone else...I just thought I wasn't as adept at dealing with it. :P ) But be sure to research them ahead of time...I had to see 3 before I found one who had experience treating narcolepsy.

Good luck!

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