Gov. Brian Sandoval, has designated Saturday, March 7 as Suddenly Sleepy Saturday-A Day for Narcolepsy Awareness. The purpose of the day is to raise awareness of narcolepsy, a chronic neurological sleep disorder which affects one in every 2,000 people in the United States. While the cause of narcolepsy is not completely understood, current research points to a combination of genetic and environmental factors that influence the immune system.
Some of narcolepsy’s key symptoms are excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep attacks, sudden micro sleeps, disrupted nighttime sleep, and in some, episodes of muscle weakness, known as cataplexy. The complex, lifelong condition affects a wide range of populations, from children to the elderly, and presents with a broad scope of severity. Narcolepsy is grossly misunderstood and often unrecognized, even by those within the medical field. It can often take years after first symptoms appear before narcolepsy is correctly diagnosed.
Suddenly Sleepy Saturday is the day before Americans turn their clocks ahead one hour for daylight savings time, a time when even those who do not have narcolepsy may experience sudden sleepiness or daytime drowsiness, just as people with narcolepsy do every day.
The day also marks the 6th day of the National Sleep Foundation’s National Sleep Awareness Week. The annual public education and awareness campaign, which this year runs from March 2-8, 2015, aims to promote the importance of sleep to good health and the prevalence of undiagnosed sleep disorders.
The proclamation was requested by Jennifer Birri of Carson City, who worked in collaboration with Narcolepsy Network, a nationwide nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting people with narcolepsy, raising awareness about narcolepsy and promoting research for treatment and a cure for this serious neurological sleep disorder.
Birri requested the proclamation because she has suffered from narcolepsy with cataplexy for many years, but was not diagnosed until January 2014. Birri has made it a goal to help education and explain the disorder to others.
For more information about narcolepsy and Narcolepsy Network, visit www.narcolepsynetwork.org.
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