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PDF Editor FAQ

What kind of person sleeps more than normal?

I do. I absolutely require nine hours of sleep a day and do best on ten or more. Less than that and I am absolutely miserable all day long. I've been that way my whole life. It's bad enough that when I was a teenager my parents took me to a doctor who specializes in sleep disorders, who did a bunch of tests and came back with nothing more helpful than "some people need more sleep than others."So what kind of person am I? Well, I'm ambitious--I've been entirely self employed since 1998. I am a serial entrepreneur; I own or co-own three businesses (a company that makes sex games, a publishing house, and a tech startup). I'm a writer--in fact, my second non-fiction book published on September 23, and my fourth fiction novel under a pseudonym published last month. I'm a traveler--I split my time about 50/50 between the U.S. and Canada and I'm about to go on a two-month book tour of Europe. I'm a cat owner. I love bacon. I dabble in photography.

Are there doctors that specialize in sleep disorders?

There are doctors who specialize in sleep disorders. Many hospitals have sleep clinics. If in doubt, your general practitioner could direct you to a sleep specialist — or even the Internet.

Have you ever had a medical condition or disease that doctors misdiagnosed?

Yeah, I suffered from severe excessive daytime sleepiness that began around my junior or senior year of high school and wasn’t correctly diagnosed as type 2 narcolepsy until shortly before I turned 30. I went to many doctors and all of them told me that feeling tired all the time meant that I had either an anxiety disorder or depression. So I spent many, many years basically turned into a zombie by excessive daytime sleepiness that never got any better. It nearly ruined my life.I later learned that this is actually a pretty normal trajectory for someone with narcolepsy. The disease has a diagnostic gap that is usually 7–10 years before a person with narcolepsy actually gets a proper diagnosis and/or effective treatment. This is because it’s a rare disease that affects about 200,000 in the United States. It is not something that the majority of doctors see regularly enough to be on the lookout for.Also excessive daytime sleepiness is basically invisible to everyone except the person who has it. People just don’t see being tired all the time and sleeping 14–18 hours a day as a medical problem. So in addition to dealing with being unable to stay awake and focus on completing tasks necessary to be successful at work or school, everyone around you basically writes you off as a lazy, slothful loser. After a while, it becomes hard not to start believing that yourself.Anyway, my narcolepsy was diagnosed because my mom fell off a stage. This led to a stay in the hospital where it was discovered that she had severe sleep apnea. This was when I became aware that there were doctors that specialized in sleep medicine, so I sought out a neurologist specializing in sleep medicine.Within 10 minutes of hearing my story, that neurologist told me that he thought I had narcolepsy. This was something I’d never even considered, but as he explained what it actually was, it felt like he was describing me as he ticked off the typical symptoms (excessive daytime sleepiness, excessive weight gain, neglecting personal hygiene, and significant disruptions in academic or professional performance).That led to me doing an overnight sleep study, which determined that I had sleep apnea. I started using a CPAP and also taking modafinil. When it became clear after about a year that my EDS had not gotten any better, I began taking Xyrem, the most effective medicine available for narcolepsy.Within three weeks of starting it, almost all of the EDS symptoms had diminished to the point that I felt like myself for the first time in a decade, and I actually went an entire day without taking a nap for the first time in years. That’s when I knew that I was going to get a second chance at life. And I’ve done everything in my power to make the most of that opportunity and live a fully productive life.

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