What are the recommended lifestyle modifications for people with Narcolepsy?
Several lifestyle modifications are highly recommended for people with narcolepsy in order to help cope with symptoms:
Consistent sleeping schedule
A regular sleeping schedule should be maintained to control the circadian rhythm. By having a scheduled time to sleep and wake up, it helps to sync the body to natural sleep-wake cycles that will lead to falling asleep easier at night.
Short 20-30 minute naps should be regularly scheduled a few times per day. This can help to relieve feelings of fatigue during the day.
Regular daily exercise for at least 20 minutes should be maintained to help improve sleep quality.
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Smoking should be avoided, especially at night. Nicotine in cigarettes and tobacco can cause insomnia, resulting in trouble falling asleep at night.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine beverages
Alcohol and caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, should be avoided several hours before bedtime. Alcohol may help people to fall asleep at first, but it prevents deeper stages of sleep and causes people to wake up early. Caffeine can stimulate the brain, which interferes with sleep and affects sleep quality.
Avoid heavy meals before bedtime
Heavy meals should be avoided before bedtime, as it is associated with poorer sleep quality.
Relax before bedtime
Keeping the brain active can prevent it from relaxing enough to fall asleep. Bright lights can also impact the circadian rhythm, therefore looking at a computer or phone screen late at night can lead to difficulty falling asleep. By taking a warm bath, reading a book or listening to music, it can help to quiet the mind down to prepare for sleep.
Individuals with narcolepsy should have safety precautions for circumstances which require concentration, such as driving.