Far more than just extreme tiredness, narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder that results in excessive drowsiness during the day, wreaking havoc on a person’s life and, in some cases, leaving sufferers vulnerable to accidents. Perhaps more frightening is the risk of sleep paralysis and loss of muscle tone, both of which can trigger intense episodes of anxiety. While there is no cure for narcolepsy, there are recommended medications, the most commonly prescribed being stimulants. As with other allopathic medications, these come with a host of side-effects, ranging from headaches and nausea to dizziness and even insomnia. CBD, however, shows promise as an effective natural treatment with limited side-effects.
A complex condition, narcolepsy presents in two ways – type 1 narcolepsy, which results in a loss of control over one’s muscles (cataplexy) and type 2 narcolepsy, which is less severe and doesn’t trigger cataplexy. Regardless of which type you suffer from, resetting your sleep-wake cycle is key to combatting this condition. By interacting with the endocannabinoid system, which controls various functions of the body, CBD can alter the way in which hormones, neurotransmitters and cells in the body and the brain function, encouraging a healthier sleep cycle, which in turn reduces daytime fatigue.
While CBD is often used as a sleep aid, it can also, when taken at the right dose, act as a stimulant to promote wakefulness – this is important for those suffering from narcolepsy, which makes it difficult to stay alert during the day. One study of rats demonstrated the wake-promoting effects of CBD by administering it during the lights-on period, which resulted in increased wakefulness.
Increasing alertness and regulating the sleep-wake cycle are critical in treating narcolepsy, but CBD has the added benefit of addressing the consequent anxiety too. Research suggests that CBD is able to deliver strong anti-anxiety effects by promoting relaxation and helping to calm the mind. For those suffering from narcolepsy, finding ways to manage the associated anxiety is important in maintaining a sense of overall wellbeing.
Some argue that lifestyle can be a contributing factor triggering narcolepsy and working to improve your diet and stress levels can have a positive impact. CBD is believed to influence appetite and metabolism, boost immunity and regulate the body’s stress response, making it a valuable addition to your daily routine and a useful tool in creating a healthier lifestyle.
When it comes to using CBD, the secret is in the dose – take too little or too much and it won’t be effective. Always start on a lower dose and increase slowly to find what works for you. While CBD comes in many forms, the most convenient for those suffering from narcolepsy are CBD tinctures and capsules as they’re compact enough to carry around with you at all times should you feel drowsiness set in.