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Easy and Effective Tips on How to Treat Narcolepsy Naturally

How to Treat Narcolepsy Naturally
After sleep apnea, narcolepsy is the biggest cause of abnormal daytime sleepiness, affecting around 1 in every 2000 Americans. To date, there is no known cure for narcolepsy, and the treatment options only help in reducing the symptoms.
Hemangi Harankhedkar
Last Updated: Mar 26, 2018
Unexplained daytime sleepiness and a constant feeling of fatigue are the prominent, or only, symptoms of narcolepsy. It is for this reason, the disorder is left undiagnosed in many people. Other symptoms of the disorder are hallucinations, day dreaming, insomnia, cataplexy, i.e, a sudden loss of muscle movement accompanied by slurring of speech, and sleep paralysis. These symptoms may differ from one person to another.
Narcolepsy is a grave disorder that, in some cases, hampers the routine of the affected person, because he/she fails to take control of the sleep and falls asleep anytime, regardless of the place or the situation.
The disorder can bear upon people of all ages; generally it affects people in the age group 10-25. In the U.S, narcolepsy affects a high percentage of population, however, the diagnosis rates are low as compared to the number of people affected. This is because, people often fail to realize, that their excessive daytime sleeping can be a sign of any disorder. Although drugs and medication help in dealing with this disorder, there is no complete recovery from it.
Causes of Narcolepsy
The exact cause for narcolepsy is not known; but a prominent reason is, deficiency of the chemical hypocretin in the brain. This chemical plays a crucial role in regulating wakefulness. A low or high level of certain chemicals disrupts the sleep cycle and alertness.
Hormonal changes, autoimmune reactions, infections, and stress can alter the levels of the hypocretin in the brain, leading to narcolepsy. In a study, it was found, about 12% of people with narcolepsy had a close relative with the same disorder. Thus, genetic influence in provoking the disorder cannot be ruled out, and studies are in progress to authenticate the claim.
Treating Narcolepsy Naturally
Although one cannot completely recover from the disorder, medication (in the form of stimulants and antidepressants) coupled with small lifestyle changes benefit in reducing the symptoms to a considerable extent. Alternative medicine practices like homeopathy, aromatherapy, acupuncture, spiritual therapy, counseling, and psychotherapy are also used to treat this disorder. These practices help in reducing the symptoms and do not cause side effects.
gotu kola
Studies are yet to confirm the usefulness of certain herbs, popular in Ayurvedic medicine, in its treatment. Gotu kola, a herb traditionally used to treat depression, sleep disorders, and a low appetite is beneficial for narcoleptics. The herb is a chief ingredient in many herbal medicines. Incorporating a few changes in your lifestyle will help in reducing the complications, without using medication.
Follow a Healthy Lifestyle
healthy lifestyle
To avoid the abrupt sleeping during daytime, you should focus on getting sound sleep at night. Taking brief naps during the afternoon hours will help you feel rejuvenated later throughout the day. Exercising is also crucial in narcolepsy treatment. Exercise of any form or meditation freshens the mind, keeping sleep at bay, and eventually you will get a good night's sleep.
During the day, you should prefer working in a well-lit atmosphere as dim surroundings encourage sleep. Do not fail to follow the precautions to protect yourself from the dangers of falling asleep anytime.
Dietary Habits
protein rich food
Narcoleptics should follow a diet low on carbohydrates and high on proteins. Foods high on protein includes poultry, cheese, meat, eggs, legumes, etc. The person should consume high protein foods during the day, as they boost alertness. Foods high on carbohydrates, on the other hand have the reverse effect of high protein foods; they have a soothing effect on the mind and thus induce sleep. Carbohydrate based foods like whole grains, pasta, rice, etc., should be consumed for dinner.
You should avoid having dinner late at night, and foods high on caffeine should be avoided before going to bed. The goal of a diet is to achieve a balance in your sleep cycle. Another point to note is that vitamin F is useful for narcoleptics. A study found that narcoleptics are deficient in vitamin F, which plays an important role in the regulation of sleep pattern. So eat foods that have vitamin F in them; melon, and cereals like barley and wheat are rich sources of vitamin F.
Narcolepsy is an incurable disorder, but best possible efforts to combat the sleepiness should be taken. Following a healthy lifestyle, along with having proper food will help a lot in managing it. If you fear you have severe narcolepsy, and are finding it difficult to deal with, do not hesitate to take a doctor's opinion.

Disclaimer: This SleepHearty article is for informative purposes only and does not, in any way, intend to replace the advice of a medical expert.