“There are problems with your brain’s sleep-wake cycles caused by narcolepsy. People with this condition experience an overwhelming urge to fall asleep at any time, even during activities such as talking or eating.”

Sleep apnea is a condition where your breathing stops while you sleep. The underlying cause can be neurological, but it is most often caused by a physical obstruction in the throat.

Despite both being sleep disorders, the symptoms and treatments for each condition vary significantly. Read on to learn more about the differences between narcolepsy and sleep apnea.

There are three categories for sleep apnea.

  • Obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type, affecting as many as 14 percent of men and 5 percent of women. It occurs when there’s a physical obstruction in your mouth or throat when you’re sleeping.
  • Central sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea occurs when something interferes with the signal from your brain telling your body to take in air.
  • Complex sleep apnea. Complex sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Sleep disorders can cause daytime sleepiness, but other symptoms are different.

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea causes pauses in your breathing while you sleep. These pauses can last from seconds to minutes. Other signs and symptoms of sleep apnea are:


There are signs and symptoms of narcolepsy.

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness. People with narcolepsy experience excessive daytime sleepiness that can come on suddenly. They experience “sleep attacks,” in which they fall asleep without warning for seconds to minutes.
  • Cataplexy. About 10 percent of the time, the first noticeable symptom is a sudden loss of muscle tone called cataplexy. These attacks can be minor, only causing drooping of your eyelids, or can affect your whole body and lead to collapse.
  • Sleep paralysis. It’s common for people with narcolepsy to experience sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is a temporary inability to move while at the edge of sleep.
  • Hallucinations. Some people experience vivid hallucinations, usually visual, as they’re falling asleep and during naps.
  • Broken sleep. Many people with narcolepsy have difficulty staying asleep at night, despite daytime sleepiness.
  • Automatic behavior while sleeping. People with narcolepsy may fall asleep during an activity such as talking or eating and continue for seconds or minutes with no awareness of what they’re doing.

There are multiple possible causes of sleep apnea and narcole.

Sleep apnea causes

Neurological problems and throat obstructions can cause sleep apnea. Contribute factors include:

Narcolepsy causes

Narcolepsy is divided into type 1 and type 2. People with type 1 experience cataplexy, while people with type 2 don’t.

Almost everyone with type 1 narcolepsy has low levels of the protein hypocretin in the nervous system. This protein helps regulate sleep cycles and promote wakefulness. In some people, as many as 80 to 90 percent of the neurons that produce this protein are lost. A number of factors may contribute to abnormal levels of this protein, including:

The cause of type 2 is not known.

There is still a link between sleep disorders and narcolepsy. People with narcolepsy are more likely to have sleep disorders than people without them.

Studies have found an association between narcolepsy and an increased body mass index (BMI). Likewise, research has found a positive correlation between “It’s obese.” and obstructive sleep apnea. A BMI of 30 or higher is considered to indicate “It’s obese.”, whereas a BMI under 25 is considered to indicate a moderate weight.

Studies published between 2000 and 2013 found that the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea in people with narcolepsy ranges from 2 to 68 percent. The wide discrepancy is largely due to small sample sizes and varying definitions of obstructive sleep apnea.

In a 2019 study, researchers found that in a group of 141 people with narcolepsy:

  • 26 people had type 1
  • Out of 26 people with type 1 there were 65 who had sleep apnea.
  • 115 people had type 2.
  • Out of 115 people with type 2, 34 had sleep disorders.

In a 2018 study, researchers found that obstructive sleep apnea was the most common medical condition observed in 68 people with narcolepsy in Olmsted County, Minnesota.

People with sleep disorders have not been found to have higher rates of the disease.

It is possible to have both sleep disorders at the same time. It may be difficult to diagnose both conditions together.

Other conditions can cause fatigue. Some of the causes include:

There are treatment options for sleep disorders.

Sleep apnea

Improving air flow while you sleep is one of the things sleep apnea treatment focuses on. It may include:

Home remedies for sleep apnea can be found here.


lifestyle changes and medications are used to treat narcolepsy.

lifestyle habits include:

  • Taking short naps.
  • Keeping a regular sleep schedule.
  • “It’s better to avoid alcohol or coffee before bed.”
  • avoiding smoking
  • daily exercise.
  • Avoid large meals before bed.
  • Relaxing activities before bed.

Medications include:

  • modafinil
  • amphetamine-like drugs.
  • Pitolisant is a drug.
  • solriamfetol is a drug.
  • The drugs The drugs antidepressants
  • The substance is called sodium oxybate.

Your primary healthcare professional can help you with the diagnosis of sleep disorders. They will conduct a physical examination and review your medical history. If they suspect a sleep disorder, they may refer you to a specialist.

The gold standard for diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea is polysomnography. During the test, you’ll sleep at the sleep center or hospital, where the following will be measured:

Polysomnography is also used to diagnose narcolepsy. Another test used to diagnose narcolepsy is a multiple sleep latency test, which measures how long it takes for you to fall asleep. In some cases, a doctor may withdraw a sample of hypocretin from your cerebrospinal fluid by using a spinal tap.

There are tests used to diagnose narcolephrenia.

There are tests used to diagnose sleep apnea.

If you suspect you have a sleep disorder, you should visit a healthcare professional.

Narcolepsy isn’t considered deadly, but sleep attacks can potentially lead to lethal accidents and injuries. Sleep apnea is linked to several life threatening conditions.

Sleep disorders characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness are called narcolepsy and sleep apnea. The symptoms of the two conditions are very different. sudden sleep attacks can occur at any time Sleep Apnea is a condition in which your breathing is disrupted while you sleep.

If you think you have either condition, you should visit a doctor. A doctor can help you.