What’s Narcolepsy Compared to Insomnia?

April 12, 2013

You’ve probably learned more about insomnia than narcolepsy as you go through your life. When you Google through several medical forums and websites about sleep, it’s more common to find the fuss about insomnia more than any other sleeping disorder.

Narcolepsy isn’t as much discussed, and there is a possibility that you haven’t even heard of it until now. It’s about time that we shed more light to this subject since narcolepsy, like insomnia, has plenty of common symptoms as well. Hopefully, by being more informed about their differences, you can learn how to avoid it or better cope with its effects.



Starting with what happens at night, what’s common with narcoleptics in general is that they all have a hard time sleeping. Because it’s a symptom that’s most associated with insomnia, a lot of narcoleptics misdiagnose themselves at the beginning. The sleeping times of narcoleptics at night are not usually in prolonged pools of hours, but are broken up into fragments of sleep.

It’s common for narcoleptics to keep experiencing interrupted sleep at night for no external reason. A supposed-to-be long night of slumber becomes a fragment of induced naps in the dark. Nearing the advent of the morning when they’re supposed to wake up and start the day, sleep paralysis sometimes pops up – more often than a person without narcolepsy.

As the day for a narcoleptic starts, there’s a frequent and almost perpetual feeling of fatigue and tiredness as if he or she did not get any sleep at all the previous night. In some social interactions that invoke strong positive or negative emotions, it’s common that a narcoleptic will feel sudden weakness or numbness in certain parts of the body. In some narcoleptic cases, hallucination becomes apparent and even frequent. The most notable symptom of narcolepsy is falling asleep randomly during the day at any time. This can happen in the shower, while eating lunch, walking, biking, or even driving. Yikes!



As opposed to narcoleptics, insomniacs also have a hard time commencing sleep at night, but their sleep is not as fragmented and interrupted as much. Although insomniacs cannot maintain through uninterrupted sleep, it’s not as bad as with narcoleptics.

During the daytime, it’s normal for insomniacs to feel helplessly tired. Poor memory and / or concentration is also common with insomniacs as a consequence of not getting enough sleep the previous night. This can be a shared trait with narcoleptics since they both suffer from lack of sufficient deep and relaxing sleep. To make the big difference, insomnia is actually caused by a poor habit, bad lifestyle, horrible diet, or just a really crappy sleeping schedule.

Contrary to the situation of insomniacs, the condition of narcoleptics is mainly caused by genetics, physiological, and hormonal imbalances that is rooted in their very being. As a result, narcolepsy is not really completely curable and can only be treated with a maintenance. Insomniacs, on the other hand can be cured with something as simple as changing their lifestyle to a dose of pharmaceutical medications. The downside with insomnia being an externally-induced thing is that it can come back even if it has been “cured” before. Keeping a good lifestyle is the key to keep it from recurring.

Whether you’re a narcoleptic or insomniac or none of the above, don’t forget that modern medicine and technology has found a way around both of these obstacles. Acknowledging this tells us that there’s no reason for you to not enjoy a good deep sleep night after night. Sweet dreams!