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What To Eat And Avoid When You Have Narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder of chronic type in which there is excessive daytime sleepiness and abrupt episodes of sleep. People with narcolepsy cannot stay awake for a long duration.

What To Eat And Avoid When You Have Narcolepsy?

What To Eat And Avoid When You Have Narcolepsy?

Some kinds of foods can make you feel particularly drowsy. These heavy foods can aggravate your narcolepsy symptoms. It is advisable to know about such foods and try to keep away from them.

  • Heavy meals or the meals that are labelled as high in carbohydrates can particularly cause drowsiness in anyone. Even more so in people with narcolepsy.
  • Almost everyone of us finds that our alertness tips on the lower side usually between mid and late afternoon. If one eats a heavy meal at this time, he is more likely to feel sleepy.
  • Similarly, a heavy or a spicy meal just before the bedtime is also a factor to mess with your sleep routine.
  • This is all especially true in case of people suffering from narcolepsy.(1)

Carbohydrates And Gluten-

  • It is advisable to eat several smaller meals as compared to one large meal.
  • It is also recommended to add more of fresh fruits and vegetables to the diet, instead of piling the meal with carbohydrates. Try cutting down on past and bread as these are high in carbohydrates
  • A diet low on gluten should be considered.

A low carb and low gluten diet will ensure that the blood glucose levels are in control. It will also ensure that the hypocretin or orexin is in ON position. As there will be low sugar in the gut, the gut is more able to stay in a balance and produce the required neurotransmitters. Gluten also helps in naturally lowering carbohydrates consumption (2)


  • Protein should be an essential component of the diet. Include lentils, cereals and pulses in your diet, along with lean meat and fish
  • Protein in the diet will not elevate the blood sugar levels
  • Amino acids in protein will help in triggering the production of hypocretin or orexin
  • Proteins also help in boosting mental clarity and energy (2)


  • Fats have been known to help many brain functions like memory, motor skills, speech etc.
  • Also, vitamins like A,D,E and K need fat to get absorbed in the body
  • Fat also help in communication between neurons, as well as creating new cells or neurogenesis.(2)

Certain other factors, apart from diet, are vital in controlling and managing the symptoms in narcolepsy. These may include-


Alcohol can be a reason for disturbance in your sleep cycle. We all know alcohol plays with our nervous system, and it is only likely that it triggers irregular sleep cycles. Those affected with narcolepsy should especially make a note of staying as far away from alcohol as possible. Even if alcohol gives you a feeling of getting very sleepy after its consumption, the chances are that you will wake up somewhere in the middle of the night, further disturbing your sleep. If you do not get ample rest and sleep at night, you are certainly more likely to feel drowsy during the day. This can particularly be bad when already experiencing symptoms of a condition as troublesome as narcolepsy. Alcohol is a strict no-no in narcolepsy, and even more so just before the bedtime


Engaging in aerobic exercises, light, moderate or heavy, will ensure that you stay awake and alert during the day and get a restful sleep at night; Exercises as light as just taking a walk for 15 min will do you a lot of good. Consult with your doctor to know what kind of exercises can be suitable for you to do on a regular basis, given your symptoms of narcolepsy.


Certain dietary changes can help in effectively managing the signs and symptoms of narcolepsy.


Also Read:

Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 13, 2019

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