What Do You Undertsand By Sleep Apnea And Narcolepsy? What Are The Similarities And Differences Between Them.

sleep apnea and narcolepsy

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when there are repeated pauses to a person’s breathing during their sleep. If you snore loudly while your sleep or feel unrested after a full nighttime sleep, you may have sleep apnea.

There are different types of sleep apnea like:

  1. Obstructive sleep apnea– The most common form of sleep apnea that occurs when throat muscles relax.
  2. Central sleep apnea– occurs when the brain does not send the right signals to the muscles that control breathing.
  3. Complex sleep apnea syndrome– Which is also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea and occurs when someone has obstructive sleep apnea as well as central apnea.


Symptoms of sleep apnea involve:

  • Snoring
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Insomnia
  • Hypersomnia
  • Headache in the morning
  • Periods when you stop breathing while your sleep

If you are experiencing a sequence of these symptoms periodically, it is a good plan to get checked out for sleep apnea.


For obstructive sleep apnea, you will possibly be fitted with a continuous positive airway pressure device(CPAP). The CPAP is a mask that matches over the nose and/ or mouth. Air is forced into the airway to keep it open during sleep. You should sleep better, quit snoring, and experiences few to no signs of sleep apnea starting with a CPAP machine.

Treatment of sleep apnea involves:

  • Dental appliances to reposition the lower jaw as well as tongue.
  • Upper airway surgery to reduce airway tissue
  • Disposable valve over the nostrils
  • Hypoglossal nerve stimulation in the patient’s chest.

Lifestyle modifications can also be made to help combat sleep apnea. losing weight, avoiding alcohol, and quitting smoking can help decrease the effects of sleep apnea. You can conduct a home sleep analysis to learn if you have sleep apnea.

What Is Narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is different from sleep apnea as it is the sleep cycle that is affected, not breathing. In a deeper sleep cycle, we begin in the early stage of sleep and then enter the deeper stages. After nearly an hour and a half, we enter the rapid eye movement staging of sleep. If you have narcolepsy you go into the rapid eye movement stage of sleep without proceeding within the first stages.

There are two types of narcolepsy:

  1. Type 1– Unexpected loss of muscle tone which makes you unable to control your muscles.
  2. Type 2– Narcolepsy but without having cataplexy

You should not have to live with each type of narcolepsy. Get in touch with a sleep professional today to discuss potential causes and diagnoses.


If you are experiencing a sequence of these symptoms, you should discuss a medical professional about the possibility of narcolepsy:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness– Lack of energy throughout the day, memory lapses, feel depressed, feel exhausted.
  • Cataplexy– often triggered by intense emotion, lack of control over any muscles in the body.
  • Hallucinations– Can be very strong and happen throughout the day, or as you fall asleep.
  • Sleep paralysis– Lack of ability to move or speak while falling asleep.
  • Disrupted sleep– If anything internal disrupts your sleep.


  • Take regular and brief naps throughout the day
  • Keep a strict bedtime habit
  • Self-care and resting before going to bed
  • Provide a good sleep environment
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and smoking
  • Finish workout at least 2 hours before bed.

TheĀ  Similarities Between Sleep Apnea And Narcolepsy

The only similarity between sleep apnea and narcolepsy is that both are chronic sleep disorders that modify how well a person sleeps. Both sleep apnea and narcolepsy have symptoms that affect a lack of ability to feel well-rested and the effect of both can seep into daily lives.

Both can be managed and it is advisable to inquire medical attention from a professional.

The Differences Between Sleep Apnea And Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy affects how great a person can control their sleeping pattern while sleep apnea is caused by breathing problems. Sleep apnea can be medically treated with devices like a CPAP machine but narcolepsy normally requires lifestyle modifications.

One chief difference is in the side effects of sleep apnea and narcolepsy. Sleep apnea normally results in feeling unrested, snoring, and irritability. Narcolepsy symptoms are usually more dangerous because a person can fall asleep or have the incapacity to control their muscles while driving. Narcolepsy can also appear in vivid and terrifying hallucinations.