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Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
Narcolepsy, the main characteristic of which is excessive and overwhelming daytime sleepiness, is a chronic sleep disorder with no known cause.
You should be checked for narcolepsy if you:
Normally, when a person falls asleep, he falls into a state called non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep during which brain waves become slower and less regular. After some 90 minutes, the individual enters rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, a state in which brain waves are more active and in which dreaming occurs. In narcolepsy, the order and length of NREM and REM sleep periods is disturbed, with REM sleep occurring at the beginning of sleep.
Two tests are generally used to diagnose narcolepsy. The polysomnogram, or sleep recording, records brain waves and several nerve and muscle functions during sleep. The multiple sleep latency test calls for an individual to sleep every two hours during normal wake times. This allows a physician to observe the time it takes for a person to reach various stages of sleep.
Although there is yet no cure for narcolepsy, drug therapy and lifestyle changes can help patients manage their condition.
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