Sam Edwards was always exhausted.
No matter how many hours of sleep he would get, he just could not stay awake. But as a professional race car driver, he needed to be fully alert to drive, so he would sleep throughout the week in order to work the weekends. He describes what he felt and what he’s been through as devastating.
He was not sure what was going on until three years ago, when his doctor told him he had narcolepsy.
Narcolepsy is a chronic disorder of the brain that can cause poor regulation of sleep-wake cycles.
As time passed, Sam needed to sleep more in order to function properly throughout work and school. Sometimes, he would feel as though he had not slept in days despite sleeping 15 hours straight. Even after sleeping, he said things would look blurry, and his reaction time would be slower than normal. This made it difficult for him to process things.
Dr. Jeffrey Hawkins specializes in sleep disorder treatment. He stated that most people are diagnosed with narcolepsy at a young age, while some have live into their 50s or 60s before being diagnosed. Hawkins said that he discourages people with untreated narcolepsy from driving.
Sam however, is being treated, and has been making his living as a race car driver for five years. He sticks to a firm sleep schedule and takes prescription medicine in order to continue working his dream job.
Click here to read more about his story.