Narcolepsy and Meditation

Narcolepsy and Meditation, how can they be related? Narcolepsy is a condition that affects the immune system and this results in a person’s sleep patterns being seriously disturbed. Can you image how confusing and frightening it would be if you could not tell the difference between dreaming and being awake? This is the problem that faces some people who suffers from the condition known as Narcolepsy. It means that affected people do not have a regular sleep cycle and they can fall asleep anywhere at any time.

The effect of this is clearly explained here:

A reality of dreams

One effect of this is that the boundary between dreaming and everyday life can become a little bit blurred and a new study by sleep psychologist Erin Wamsley aimed to see how often this occurs and what happens when it does.

Some of the reports of are quite spectacular:

One man, after dreaming that a young girl had drowned in a nearby lake, asked his wife to turn on the local news in full expectation that the event would be covered. Another patient experienced sexual dreams of being unfaithful to her husband. She believed this had actually happened and felt guilty about it until she chanced to meet the ‘lover’ from her dreams and realized they had not seen each other in years, and had not been romantically involved.

Several patients dreamed that their parents, children, or pets had died, believing that this was true (one patient even made a phone call about funeral arrangements) until shocked with evidence to the contrary, when the presumed deceased suddenly reappeared. Although not all examples were this dramatic, such extreme scenarios were not uncommon.

by Vaughanbell


The frequency that people who have narcolepsy confuse dreams with reality is high with 83% of patients finding they get confused. A third of the people reporting it reoccurred once per month and two-thirds reporting reoccurrence happening once per week.  For people who do not have the disorder a reported occurrence of only 5% was recorded.

Understanding Narcolepsy and Meditation

If you think about how sometimes you come out of a meditation and have a hard time feeling grounded and coming back to the ‘real world’.  Imagine if you had difficulty doing that, but actually thought the visions you may have experienced in your meditation were real.  That would be very disorientating and sometimes not very pleasant. So have compassion for the suffers of Narcolepsy, it may not be at the forefront of medical reports, or in the news, but it is still a debilitating illness.

Curated by Liz McCaughey


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