a woman with narcolepsy walking out onto a ledge behind her the sky is changing from day to night and she is reaching a hand out toward a dream

Narcoleptic Nightlife

Narcoleptic nightlife! NO, I am not talking about partying it up at some Narcolepsy Club. I want to discuss the vast array of things that can happen to narcoleptics at night.

It’s a very common misconception that narcolepsy only plagues narcoleptics during the day. If you are narcoleptic or sleep next to a narcoleptic, you know this is far from the truth.

Narcolepsy and nighttime activities

Let’s talk about some things that happen during the night. My family chimed in on some of these. I actually learned a lot from writing this article because I had no idea about some of my nighttime activities. Here are some of the things narcoleptics have commonly reported doing at night:

Insomnia

Yes, narcoleptics have insomnia. From my observations, it comes in two main forms: sleeping for 4 hours and then being awake for a chunk of time, or having a hard time falling asleep at all.

Epic dreams

Narcoleptics can spend a lot of time in dream sleep, also known as REM sleep. Because of this, it’s common to have epic dreams. If the dream is good, it can be a lot of fun. If the dream is scary, it is awful. I often hear narcoleptics joke that they could write some amazing books about their dreams if they only had the energy to do so.

Extreme confusion when awake

One time I woke up and I looked over and realized that I had no idea who was laying next to me in my bed. I racked my brain to try and figure out who the mystery man was. After being unsuccessful, I inched over cautiously and peeked at his face. Whew, he looked familiar.  That was a good sign. As my brain continued to wake up, I started to come to my senses more. Finally, I realized the mystery man was my hubby. I can imagine that it is easy to read this and think I am exaggerating. But I promise, for a solid 2-3 minutes, I was completely lost.

Dreaming while awake

What? Is this even possible? Ok, so I am not a doctor. I am simply trying to put words to what it feels like is happening. Let me explain. It is well known that narcoleptics move quickly from wakefulness to dream sleep. Sometimes it feels like I move back and forth instantly. This can lead to hallucinations where I am simply “hearing” my dreams as I wake.  This quick jump also allows me to wake up a bit, and alter my dream before I fall asleep. Like the epic dreams, this can be either fun or scary depending on the dream topic.

Nighttime twitches

My husband and oldest daughter just told me all about this. I am assuming this is a narcoleptic thing because I never did it before I got narcolepsy. My daughter reports that it’s like I twitch, but it’s often. I am very curious to hear if anyone else does this too?

Sleep paralysis

This occurs when waking up or falling asleep. I describe it as having my brain wake up while my body is still asleep. It can range from feeling pinned down, to seeing scary beings, to worst case, having the scary beings pin me down and attack me violently

I often communicate with others that narcolepsy affects my sleep cycles day and night. Have you had any of these happen to you? Have you had another experience that I didn’t mention?

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