My Dog has Narcolpesy! And 3 Other Facts About a Leading Researcher

It goes without saying that sans research, medical science would be stuck in the Dark Ages. I doubt any of us wishes bloodletting for narcolepsy–or any reason!–was still a thing.

All of this to say, let’s take some time to appreciate the people behind the scenes: the doctors, scientists and researchers responsible for medical breakthroughs.

Enter Dr. Emmanuel Mignot, director of the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine.

When it comes to narcolepsy research, he’s a big name. Dr. Mignot uncovered the genetic mutation that causes the disease responsible for drowsiness, out-of-nowhere “sleep attacks,” hallucinations and more.

Van Winkle’s found some fun facts on sleep from the man who’s no stranger to the topic.

  1. His dog has narcolepsy.

Dr. Mignot adopted Watson, a Chihuahua, in 2014 – not long after his other dog Bear died (Turns out Bear was a Schipperke who also had narcolepsy). Apparently, Watson’s former owner didn’t want to keep him after his narcolepsy surfaced, so Dr. Mignot gave Watson a new home.

chihuahua Narcolepsy
(This is NOT Watson…. but he’s so darn cute!) [Source: giphy.com]
According to Dr. Mignot, Watson usually experiences sleep attacks when excited. Think fetch. Watson scurries after the toy, snatches it up and runs back, only to fall asleep as Dr. Mignot tries to grab the toy. So, the doctor catches him mid-fall.

  1. He loves naps.

During lunch breaks, Dr. Mignot will often take a 30-minute nap. Though a rest this brief doesn’t necessarily usher him into REM sleep, he says 30 minutes is enough to feel refreshed. When napping, he doesn’t dream. In fact…

  1. He doesn’t often dream.

He said he goes long stretches without dreaming and, when he does dream, it’s usually several dreams packed into a couple of days. The dreams he remembers are usually unpleasant – the kind where you wake up thinking, “Oh, thank God I didn’t do that,” he told Van Winkle’s.

  1. Chocolate helps him fall back asleep.

Though he admitted his sleep is “a little boring,” Dr. Mignot apparently wakes up once a night. What does he do? He walks to the kitchen, grabs some dark chocolate and, soon, he falls back asleep. It’s a habit he said he won’t soon kick.

Read more about Dr. Mignot here!


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