Monthly Archives: February 2020

Narcolepsy vs. Sleep Apnea

When I first started working at Monitor Medical and learning all about sleep apnea, one of my initial thoughts was ‘what the difference between this and narcolepsy, they sound pretty similar.’ The simple answer, which I now know, is that a person who suffers from sleep apnea can stop breathing throughout the night which will more than likely lead to daytime sleepiness and other symptoms compared to that of someone who says that they are sleeping well and just falls asleep anywhere at any time (I guess it’s not really all that simple after all!). Now while that sounds like two different things, you’d be surprise to learn just how similar these two sleep disorders are.

Beginning with signs and symptoms – both disorders include symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness. Although, I think those who suffer from narcolepsy worry about this symptom much more than those who have sleep apnea due to the fact that they can literally fall asleep anywhere, at any time. Narcolepsy does not discriminate when it comes to when it hits, it doesn’t care if you are in the car on the way to work, or in a very important meeting; when it hits, it hits and there is pretty much nothing you can do about it.
Another thing that both disorders have in common is sleep paralysis. You know that feeling when you’re tucked away in bed comfortably, and then all of sudden it feels as though someone has pulled the rug out from under you and you’re falling? You wake up right after and sort of move around, right, and then you’re no longer falling? Can you imagine not being able to move? Imagine being frozen in that moment. You’re not able to bring yourself out of that moment. Can you imagine how scary that is? Sleep paralysis doesn’t last for more than a few minutes, but those few minutes can seem like a lifetime when you’re not able to do anything about.

I think the scariest part of narcolepsy is the sudden loss of muscle tone. Scientifically known as cataplexy, this can take the form of slurred speech to weakened muscles. Like sleep paralysis, the lose of muscle tone only lasts a few minutes. Not all individuals who suffer from narcolepsy experience the loss of muscle tone; these ‘episodes’ can also be as rare to occur one to two times a year or be a daily occurrence.
There are a few more symptoms that are more directly related to narcolepsy, however I feel as though we have discussed the most serious ones. Now, it is important to note that patients can suffer from one or both of these sleep disorders at the same time, but having one does not necessarily mean you will have the other. It’s not something that goes hand-in-hand. Being that we are in the business of sleep, it’s good to be aware of the different disorders that are similar to sleep apnea and how they are different.

Weighted Therapy

I have been doing a lot of research into different solutions to help my fall asleep fast and stay asleep longer. While I do enjoy the benefits of melatonin, I do not want to develop a dependency on it despite it being a safe over the counter drug. I have had a few acquaintances mentioned that they have a weighted blanket and has changed their sleeping game for the better, I thought it would be worth my time to look into how it can help me.

Insomnia: the inability to sleep. It is estimated that over 40 million people suffer from insomnia, ya girl being on of them. However, using a weighted blanket might be the answer. According to researchers, deep touch pressure stimulation (essentially, a gentle pressure –that provided by a weighted blanket) releases serotonin, the chemical that regulates sleep. The weighted blanket is supposed to help improve your quality of sleep as well – that’s a major plus, right?
Reducing anxiety and stress: It seems that deep touch pressure stimulation therapy is also good for helping to alleviate the stress and anxiety that you feel at times. The blanket acts as if there is actually someone around hugging you. I am a firm believer that hugs make the world go round, so I love a good hug. It really can make a difference in your mood when you are feeling like the world is collapsing. It seems that this therapy has proven to be effective for those who also suffer from ADHD. The pressure from the blanket is thought to help ADHD sufferers concentrate a little better on the task that they are preforming.
RLS and Fibromyalgia Pain: Doctors recommend compression socks for their patients who suffer from restless leg syndrome because the compression is supposed to lessen the frequency of the tingly feeling that RLS encompasses. However, their patient often complain about the uncomfortable feeling that they feel due to the compression socks. Please enter your weight blanket; it will provide the same effective as the compression socks, with maximum comfort. The constant pressure from the blanket provides relief without the constriction that you may feel from the socks. I know that RLS and Fibromyalgia are two completely different illnesses, but the weighted blankets provides the same benefits for those who suffer from either illnesses.
Now, my favorite benefit provided by the use of the weighted blanket is not human related at all – it’s a wonderful solutions for our favorite furry friends. I know that cats are particular when it comes to cuddling and other furry things, so this may not be a good idea for them, but if you know me, you know that I am partial to dogs, so this is truly who it is meant for. My furry friend is among the majority that do not take well to sirens (police or ambulances) or fireworks. While I enjoy every moment that I can spend cuddling with dog, I hate that he’s frightened by these things. The weighted blanket works for dogs as it does for humans; so just like us, when having a panic or stress attach, the weighted therapy makes things seem better, it provides a sense of calm and comfort to our fur babies.

Of course, there are numerous other benefits to using a weighted blanket. You can find more information here and even purchase one should you want to benefit from its use as well:

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