A combination of medicine and lifestyle treatments can make life with narcolepsy smoother.
Medicines that act on the central nervous system are generally turned to first; these work to improve alertness and reduce sleepiness and include midafinil and armodafinil, both thought to affect dopamine production. Certain amphetamines have a similar affect, and can be given in both short-acting and long-acting forms.
Sodium oxybate can improve the quality of sleep at night, and also works to control cataplexy. Antidepressants, because they suppress REM sleep, may also be used to control cataplexy.
Scheduling naps, maintaining strict going-to-bed and waking times, and getting daily aerobic exercise can help you sleep better at night, which can prevent daytime sleepiness. Not smoking, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol at night is also important.
If you have narcolepsy, you also have to take proper safety precautions. If you have to take a long drive, make sure you have scheduled breaks for a nap and that your medicine schedule allows for it so that you don’t fall asleep at the wheel. If you experience cataplexy, make sure that those around you are aware of what happens, and keep your environment safe for a sudden fall.