Even with a doctor's help, there is no cure for narcolepsy, but there are things you can do to control the symptoms. For example, one way to decrease symptoms during the day is to get quality, sufficient sleep during the night. Many people that suffer from narcolepsy do not get enough sleep during the night, or suffer from other sleep disorders, including insomnia.
Improve Sleep Hygiene
Improving sleep hygiene is an important step in overcoming narcolepsy. By improving your physical surroundings during sleep time, you can improve your ability to stay awake during the day. Good sleep hygiene does not require medications, but rather lifestyle changes that enhance sleep ability:
- Be in bed for sleep only: Patients who struggle to sleep well at night should insure they only spend time in their bed during sleep time hours. This way, the mind is conditioned to the understanding that being in bed means being asleep.
- Avoid daytime naps when possible: Daytime naps can keep you from being able to get a full night of sleep during the night. Those with narcolepsy may not be able to control when they fall asleep, but you should avoid making a decision to take a nap when possible.
- Practice yoga and meditation: Using yoga and meditation can help to stimulate good sleep hygiene since the process is relaxing and a stress reliever. Practice yoga daily to improve sleep patterns.
- Exercise properly: Getting exercise during the day is an important part of getting quality sleep. It helps to stimulate the brain during the day. Use exercise during the morning and afternoon as a stimulus.
- Use stimulants carefully: Coffee, nicotine, and alcohol should only be consumed during daytime hours. Refrain from consuming them in the three hours prior to bedtime as they can interfere with nighttime sleep.
Doctors treat patients using medications that help to control the sleep patterns. Individuals suffering from the condition will automatically fall into REM sleep at any time. Doctors can treat this by adjusting the chemicals in the brain which cause this situation to happen. While these medications are necessary for narcolepsy, using natural remedies can help further manage the symptoms.
- Get support: Believe it or not, one of the best treatments for narcolepsy is getting social and psychological support. Let your family know what is happening so they can help you. Talk to a psychiatrist to find out any complications which could be behind your sleep problems.
- Use light therapy: Light therapy is the process of conditioning your body to sleep when it should. Naturally, the body wants to sleep during the nighttime hours, but sleep patterns that interrupt this can cause a variety of sleep disorders, including narcolepsy. Therefore, follow a light therapy process which helps move your sleep patterns around, using bright light to stimulate wakeful hours.
- Use acupuncture: In some studies, acupuncture and other non prescription sleep aids have been shown to decrease sleep problems. Those who want to avoid medications, or want to supplement them, can visit a trained acupuncturist. This ancient medical treatment helps to restore the flow of Qi through the body through the use of very small needles. Trained professionals will target the locations in the body known to improve sleep patterns.
- Stick to a sleep schedule: One of the core tools you have to controlling narcolepsy is to stick to a regular sleep schedule, where you are going to bed at the same time each night and waking at the same time. In addition, most people need between six and eight hours of sleep time.
Natural remedies for narcolepsy shouldn't be the only tool you use to fight this condition, especially if it affects you while performing tasks like driving. In these cases, do seek treatment from your doctor for the condition.