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On narcolepsy, naps, the genetics of sleep (and chocolate?)

606739059_bff97744c2_zSomeone who studies sleep for a living surely sleeps soundly, right? Maintains a set bedtime and snoozes for a full eight hours?

Not necessarily, a recent interview with Stanford narcolepsy researcher Emmanuel Mignot, MD, PhD shows.

"[I] usually wake up once in the middle of the night. Usually, I go into the kitchen and eat something like a piece of chocolate — always dark chocolate," Mignot said in an article from Van Winkle's, a website focused on sleep.

Otherwise, Mignot characterizes his sleep as "a little boring. It's not great, but it's not traumatic."

For his dog, the narcoleptic Chihuahua Watson, however, sleep is something that pounces suddenly, often during a rousing game of fetch. "He’ll go and get the toy and then I’ll try to take it from him — and he just falls asleep. I have to catch him as he falls over," Mignot said.

Watson's cataplexy, or a sudden episode of muscle paralysis, is one of the most common symptoms of narcolepsy, a disease characterized by almost constant sleepiness.

In the piece, Mignot also discussed his work to develop a treatment for narcolepsy and his plans to conduct study on the genetics of sleep problems.

Previously: How insufficient sleep can lead to weight gain, Watson, the narcoleptic Chihuahua, demonstrates symptoms on-air and Stumbling upon circadian rhythms
Photo by John Loo

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