Most people with narcolepsy find that certain lifestyle changes can help them improve their daytime alertness.

General Guidelines for Managing Narcolepsy

Get Sufficient Nighttime Sleep

It’s important for you to regulate your sleep in order to optimize your alertness during the day. Try to get about eight hours of sleep each night.

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Take Planned Naps During the Day

Scheduling regular naps can help you remain alert. Some people find that two to three short (10-15 minute) naps scheduled throughout the day are very helpful; others find that one longer afternoon nap refreshes them enough to finish out their day with minimal sleepiness. Try each of these methods to see which works better for you.

Avoid Substances That Can Interfere With Alertness or Refreshing Sleep

Be careful when drinking caffeinated beverages or alcohol, or using nicotine products. Alcohol can increase your drowsiness and can interfere with getting a good night of sleep. Nicotine and caffeine are stimulants and may interfere with getting refreshing sleep at night or during daytime naps.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise can increase your energy level and improve your alertness during the day. However, do not exercise within three hours of the time you’re planning to go to bed for the night. Exercise can boost your energy to the degree that it prevents you from falling asleep.

Before starting an exercise program, check with your doctor about any possible medical problems you may have that would limit your exercise program.

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