Well, I was about 16, so I'd just
started doing my AS-levels.
The main thing was I just started
falling asleep randomly.
When I was younger, I used to be
to fall asleep in the car easily,
but it was one of those things you
notice or pay much attention to.
But that was the main thing,
the sleep attacks.
Narcolepsy is a condition
where the brain loses its ability...
..to control the switch
between being asleep and being awake.
All animals need to sleep.
But narcoleptic patients
have lost the ability
to get into deep sleep
and stay asleep.
The sleep's fragmented and broken up.
The consequence of that
is the following day,
they're very, very tired and the
pressure to sleep then builds up.
Phenomena normally associated
with sleep and sleepiness
intrude into normal daytime activities.
The first symptoms I started to notice
was feeling a lot more tired
than I usually do during the day
and falling asleep at random points.
Sleep paralysis was another one.
Waking up in the morning and not
able to move was quite disorientating
and kind of scary, to be honest.
There is a genetic predisposition
Certain genes have been identified
that are far more common
in patients with narcolepsy.
That said, having those genes,
more likely not to have narcolepsy
than to have it.
The incidence in the general population
is between one in 2,000
and one in 5,000,
but up to a third of us
have these genes.
It happened pretty much anywhere.
It would happen while I was eating
my dinner or in the shower
or at college in a lesson.
It did get to be a bit of a problem,
because I was falling asleep at
at lot more than, well, anyone would,
so I was missing out on a lot of work.
Treatments for narcolepsy
have improved in recent years.
Traditionally, they centre around
to promote wakefulness, stimulants,
and amphetamine-like drugs.
But more recently, drugs that are
safer and much less addictive
that also promote wakefulness
I get a good night's sleep
and then take my tablets in the
and another one in the afternoon.
I'm usually sleep attack-free
throughout the day
which is a lot better
than it used to be.
The support of my friends
and family was a major factor in it.
Obviously, you do have bad days
where you think, "The world's
me," and everything like that.
But if you've got
some really good people behind you,
then that makes a big difference.
Patients perhaps become better
at living with it as they get older.
Sleep requirements change with age.
So, yes, the apparent severity of it
can diminish with time.
But I think a major factor of that
is that patients just become better
at dealing with it
and managing their own condition.
Well, I've just finished my A-levels
so I'll be getting my results in August.
I'm planning to go to university
So, big changes,
but I've just got to adapt my lifestyle
to what I'm doing at that point, really.
Adaptation, with this condition,
you kind of get used to it.
Change isn't necessarily bad,
so you just get on with it.