Sleep Apnea vs Narcolepsy: Difference and Comparison

After waking up, you feel exhausted, which may be a disease related to sleeping. Maybe your nights are not peaceful, and your partner complains that you are snoring, it’s time to get help. Sleep Apnea is due to a hitch in your breathing.

Narcolepsy is due to changes in the sleep cycle. It is good to get help before reaching the zenith. The increased changes in lifestyle caused both diseases.

Key Takeaways

  1. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by interrupted breathing, while narcolepsy is a neurological disorder causing excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden sleep attacks.
  2. Treatment for sleep apnea includes continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, while narcolepsy treatment involves medications to regulate sleep-wake cycles.
  3. Sleep apnea can lead to serious health complications if left untreated, such as cardiovascular issues, whereas narcolepsy primarily affects the quality of life and social functioning.

Sleep Apnea Vs Narcolepsy

The difference between Sleep Apnea and Narcolepsy is breathing issues and sleeping patterns. Sleep apnea is a pause in your breathing, and Narcolepsy is the unordered sleeping cycle. They both have different side effects. Sleep apnea causes snoring, irritability, and unrest. Narcolepsy causes dangerous symptoms like falling asleep and terrifying hallucinations. They are both treated with chronic sleep disorders and need medical advice from trained doctors.

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Sleep Apnea is due to recurred stoppage while breathing. It treats with medicines. The symptoms like snoring, insomnia, and hypersomnia result in sleep apnea. It divides into many stages. Check these combinations of signs to recognize the disease.

Often feeling unrest and headache after woked up, advises consulting the doctor. The changes in the daily life cycle are a principal reason behind sleep apnea.

Narcolepsy is different from sleep apnea. It is due to changes in the sleeping cycle. If you sleep at ten on one day and twelve on another day, it affects the pattern of your brain to work accordingly.

It has dangerous effects like frightening hallucinations and unable to control muscles. It has various levels or stages. Cataplexy and sleep hallucinations are diagnoses in many people who have narcolepsy.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSleep ApneaNarcolepsy
DefinitionSleep apnea is due to stoppage in breathingNarcolepsy is due to changes in the sleeping cycle.
TypesSnoring, unrest, irritabilityTerrifying hallucinations, Inability to control muscles.
TreatmentDivided into three typesDivided into two types
SymptomsBy fitted with CPAPBy changing lifestyle
Complete cureCompletely curedNo cure for Narcolepsy.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea is a disease due to blockage of breathing. It is a chronic sleeping disorder. It gets treated as soon as possible. In untreated cases, it causes blockage during sleeping, even hundreds of times in one night.

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It also causes hypertension, stroke, diabetes, and heart failure. Snore, and unrest are the primary symptoms. If you have a combination of these symptoms that consulting a doctor is advised.

Sleep apnea has a treatment to get completely cured. Surgery is done to remove the excess tissue which blocks breathing.

Sleep Apnea classifies into two:
Obstructive sleep apnea
Central sleep apnea.
Complex sleep apnea syndrome

Obstructive sleep apnea is the blockage of the upper area, and it is the most common of the two.

As for apnea, The diaphragm and chest muscles need to work more to open up for air pressure. It might interfere with other vital organs and disturb sleep resulting in heart rhythm irregularities.

Central sleep apnea is not a blockage in breathing, but the brain fails to instruct the organs with correct commands. It is related to the central nervous system.

Complex sleep apnea is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

According to the census, 25%of men and 10% of women are affected by sleep apnea. It is a common disease among all age groups. Especially people over 50 are affected most compared to others.

Structural informatics like large neck, overweight, and small jaw is also a cause of sleep apnea.

During blockage, the heart won’t receive enough amount of oxygen to pump blood. That results in the malfunctioning of organs.

sleep apnea

What is Narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleeping disorder. It has dangerous effects like terrifying hallucinations and falling asleep. They fall asleep in the daytime without awareness or warning.

They cannot control muscles during driving or sleeping. It is called cataplexy. It is not in every people who experience narcolepsy. It leads to sleep paralysis. REM sleep is in narcolepsy while dreaming.

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Narcolepsy divides into two types:
Narcolepsy with cataplexy
Narcolepsy without cataplexy

Cataplexy is a sudden inability to control muscles. Sometimes you get triggered by emotions. It makes you feel tired throughout the day and experiences memory loss. Sleep paralysis may happen.

It makes you paralyzed cannot able to move or speak in sleep. Narcolepsy without cataplexy is different in that it won’t have any muscle inability but has all the other symptoms.

Narcolepsy gets treated as soon as possible. Changing the lifestyle will help to treat the disease. Must consult a professional before going to the zenith. People with narcolepsy diagnoses have a low level of a chemical called hypocretin.

It transfers to the next generation only 1 %, but if someone in your family has narcolepsy, it spreads 20 to 40 times. People with narcolepsy possible from sleep attacks or physical harm. The low metabolism causes them to be overweight.


Main Differences Between Sleep Apnea and Narcolepsy

  1. Sleep apnea is because of a repeating pause of breathing, and Narcolepsy is due to an unordered sleeping cycle.
  2. Sleep apnea has symptoms of snoring and unrest. Narcolepsy has signs of a lack of energy and terrifying hallucinations.
  3. Sleep apnea treats by fitting CPAP(Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). Narcolepsy treats by changing the lifestyle.
  4. Sleep apnea divides into three types, and Narcolepsy divides into two terms.
  5. Sleep apnea is cured fully by removing excessive tissues, and No cure for narcolepsy.
Difference Between Sleep Apnea and Narcolepsy

Last Updated : 12 August, 2023

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26 thoughts on “Sleep Apnea vs Narcolepsy: Difference and Comparison”

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  2. Sleep apnea and narcolepsy are both dangerous sleeping disorders that can have significant impacts on a person’s quality of life. Seeking medical advice and treatment is crucial to manage these conditions.

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  4. The symptoms and implications of sleep apnea and narcolepsy underscore the need for comprehensive medical evaluation and treatment. Prioritizing sleep health and seeking professional advice is crucial for individuals experiencing these conditions.

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  6. Recognizing the key differences between sleep apnea and narcolepsy is vital for understanding the specific challenges associated with each condition. Effective care and management strategies are essential for those affected by these sleeping disorders.

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  8. The informative details about sleep apnea and narcolepsy shed light on the multifaceted nature of these sleeping disorders. Increased awareness and understanding can lead to better outcomes for those affected by these conditions.

    • Understanding the potential complications and treatment options for sleep apnea and narcolepsy is essential for individuals and healthcare professionals. The emphasis on recognizing symptoms and seeking appropriate care is crucial.

    • The impact of sleep apnea on cardiovascular health and the effects of narcolepsy on daily life highlight the significance of addressing these conditions comprehensively. Early intervention and medical guidance are paramount.

  9. Empowering individuals with detailed insights into the complexities of sleep apnea and narcolepsy can facilitate informed discussions with healthcare providers. Encouraging an open dialogue about these conditions is crucial for effective management.

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  10. The prevalence and potential complications related to sleep apnea underscore the importance of addressing and managing this condition early. Similarly, understanding the characteristics of narcolepsy can help individuals seek appropriate treatment.

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    • It’s fascinating to see how different factors, such as lifestyle changes, can contribute to these sleeping disorders. Encouraging a healthy lifestyle may also play a role in managing these conditions.


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