Coping With Narcolepsy
When coping with narcolepsy, patients may supplement drug therapy with behavioral strategies to gain greater control over the disorder. For example, many patients take short, regularly scheduled naps at times when they tend to feel the sleepiest. Getting high-quality nighttime sleep is another thing that patients can do to improve their symptoms. Safety precautions, particularly when driving, are of paramount importance for all people coping with narcolepsy.
None of the currently available medications enables people with narcolepsy to consistently maintain a fully normal state of alertness. Thus, narcolepsy drug therapy should be supplemented by various behavioral strategies according to the needs of the individual patient.
To gain greater control over their narcolepsy symptoms, many patients take short, regularly scheduled naps at times when they tend to feel sleepiest. Adults can often negotiate with employers to modify their work schedules so they can take naps when necessary and perform their most demanding tasks when they are most alert. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for all employees with disabilities.
Children and adolescents with narcolepsy can be similarly accommodated through modifying class schedules and informing school personnel of special needs, including narcolepsy medication requirements during the school day.
Improving the quality of nighttime sleep can combat excessive daytime sleepiness and help relieve persistent feelings of fatigue.