Sunday, June 3

Narcoleptic Insomnia

Most narcoleptics don't sleep well.

Ironic, isn't it?

A common misconception of the disease is that a narcoleptic must get tons of sleep - in fact, too much sleep. Almost like a "too much of a good thing" syndrome.


Narcolepsy isn't about getting too much sleep, it's about being sleepy at the wrong time - among other things. At times, my husband can't sleep. It's really like a form of insomnia sometimes.

It took me years to get that. Did I say years? I meant YEARS. As in, recently I finally said, OH! Okay, I get it.

My husband gets up around 3am almost every morning. Regardless of what time he goes to bed, he wakes in the wee hours of the morning, stumbles around half conscious, and eventually crashes again. He tosses and turns, talks and moans, and finally wakes, nearly just as groggy as when he dropped off the night before.

Narcolepsy is sad that way. Just imagine, you're always sleepy, but when you can sleep, it's lousy. How messed up is that? We're in the process of finding medication that will help him to sleep, but in the interim, he suffers sometimes. We find that it helps to have:
  • A quiet, cool, dark bedroom
  • An alarm clock set well in advance
  • Permission for him to fall asleep whenever he can (meaning I don't get mad if he falls asleep unexpectedly)
With things already in place, whenever he falls asleep, it's okay. Of course, this only works when he actually falls asleep in his bed. Many times he dozes where he is - a chair, the couch, the kitchen table... I hate waking him. After all, he needs whatever sleep he can get, no matter where it is.