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Are you more than tired? 5 symptoms you shouldn’t ignore

(BPT) – Do you fight to stay awake during the day? Is exhaustion part of your everyday life? If the urge to sleep is overwhelming and irresistible, it may be a sleep disorder called narcolepsy, a condition affecting approximately one in 2,000 people in the U.S. Narcolepsy is one of the most frequently diagnosed primary sleep disorders. However, it’s not always easy to recognize.

“There are five major symptoms of narcolepsy. Many of them can be confused with other medical conditions such as depression or epilepsy, making a narcolepsy diagnosis somewhat tricky,” says Dr. Raj Dasgupta, pulmonary and sleep specialist at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. “Approximately half of the people affected by narcolepsy remain undiagnosed. A diagnosis can take up to 10 years to receive. We need greater awareness of narcolepsy to help expedite the diagnosis process for patients.”

Everyone with narcolepsy has excessive daytime sleepiness. That’s when you feel tired all the time, making it hard to stay awake and alert throughout the day. It can be described as feeling fatigued or irritable, having difficulty concentrating, poor memory, or mood changes. Patients say it comes in waves, like a “sleep attack.” These can happen during unusual situations, such as in the middle of a meal, a conversation or bike ride.

There are five major symptoms, but you don’t need to experience them all to have narcolepsy.

1. Excessive daytime sleepiness: As discussed above, this is when you have an irresistible urge to sleep during the day.

2. Cataplexy: The weakening of muscles when you feel strong emotions like embarrassment, laughter, surprise, or anger. Cataplexy can cause your head to drop, your face to droop, your jaw to weaken, or make your knees give way.

3. Sleep disruption: When you often fall asleep quickly but wake up frequently throughout the night.

4. Sleep paralysis: Feeling unable to move or speak for a short time when falling asleep or waking up. You may also feel like you can’t breathe.

5. Vivid dreaming: Often frightening dreamlike experiences that seem real and happen when falling asleep or waking up. You may experience hearing sounds or words when drifting to sleep or have unwanted visions. Sleep paralysis often accompanies these vivid dreams.

Narcolepsy occurs equally as often in men and women. The symptoms often start between the ages of 10 and 25, but it can take up to 12 years for narcolepsy to fully develop. Narcolepsy is a debilitating disease, as it can cause difficulties at work, negatively impact social interactions, lower self-esteem, and create challenges performing everyday tasks. Contrary to popular belief, people with narcolepsy do not spend more time sleeping than the average person.

“It’s normal to feel tired sometimes,” Dr. Dasgupta says. “But if the urge to fall asleep is interfering with your job or personal life, it might be time to talk to a sleep specialist.”

For more information about narcolepsy and to take the symptom screener, visit MoreThanTired.com.

This content is provided by Jazz Pharmaceuticals.

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Transform your home into a retreat with these 5 tips from a luxury resort

(BPT) – There’s a reason why they say your home is your castle. This is a place of rest and refuge so you can be returned to your best state.

The next time you find yourself with a quiet evening or weekend in your abode, make self-care and pampering a priority. In fact, you can borrow a few pages from the wellness playbook with expert tips from one the world’s most storied resorts.

Destination Kohler located in the heart of Wisconsin in the quaint village of Kohler — and recently named one of the top 15 wellness resorts by Conde Nast Traveler — is what you might call a luxurious refuge. Here, after you explore picturesque snow-covered hiking paths on snowshoes or cross-country skis, and enjoy five-star accommodations at this historic American Club, you can restore your body and mind at the luxurious five-star Kohler Waters Spa or unique Yoga on the Lake facility.

But even a few simple additions at your home, says Garrett Mersberger, director of Kohler Waters Spas, can greatly increase the relaxation factor during your down time.

1. Include the five senses.

The secret to setting up the best spa experience, Mersberger says, is making positive connections to all the senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and sound.

“If one of these is missing, the experience isn’t the same,” he says.

Even the smallest changes can transform your space and elevate your mood. You can light a candle and plug in the indoor water fountain to create sound and lighting that soothes the mind. Snuggle into a plush robe and encase your feet in super soft socks or slippers after your shower or bath. Finally, don’t forget to set yourself up with a glass of wine and a cheese plate.

2. Prepare your body with hydrotherapy.

People have known this since ancient times: water has great powers of restoration, which is why hydrotherapy is central to any worthwhile spa experience. At home, it’s as simple as making small adjustments to your shower routine. Mersberger suggests changing the pulses in your shower head and experimenting with hot and cool blasts of water, which he says are good for the skin and blood flow.

But be careful, while a hot bath or shower before bed feels terrific, it’s not relaxing since warm temperatures will raise your blood flow, preparing the body for work or exercise, he says. To ready your body for sleep or relaxation, finish with a shower that’s a neutral temperature (about 92-97 degrees Fahrenheit), to return your body to normal.

3. Release blocked energy.

Start your quest for relaxation with a simple yoga move called the seated cat/cow position. “In addition to releasing blocked energy, it also opens the spine,” says Ashley Kohler, Manager of Yoga on the Lake at Destination Kohler. To do this, sit cross-legged on the floor and place your hands on your knees. As you inhale, lean your chest forward and lift your gaze to the sky. As you exhale, round out your spine while drawing your shoulders forward, gazing down.

4. Hone your breathing technique.

Breathing is a vital component of managing stress levels, Kohler says. Yet most Americans only breathe with a third of their lung capacity, creating “flight energy” in the body and cultivating that feeling of stress.

“Conscious breathing will ease your nervous system and help control stress levels and help you unwind,” Kohler says.

Here’s an easy antidote: Sit quietly for a few moments, taking full-body, deep breaths through your nose.

“I like to visualize the ocean, and imagine the sound of the its big crashing waves with every breath I take,” she says.

5. Relieve stress by going outside.

The benefits of going outside in the winter is not only good for our bodies, being outside chases away the winter blahs, as research has told us. So go ahead and skip the treadmill and go jogging in the park. Or rent a pair of snowshoes take a tromp through the woods. Or take a walk. When you’re done, there’s no better feeling than coming in from the cool air, knowing you are truly in for the day.

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