NBME 20

nbme20/Block 1/Question#6

A 16-year-old student has uncontrollable ...

Direct transition from wakefulness to REM sleep

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submitted by hayayah(217),

In narcolepsy, there is a direct transition from wakefulness to REM sleep. Basically instead of going through the early stages and gradually falling into a deep sleep, you just suddenly go from being awake to being in a deep sleep.


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submitted by drdoom(60),

This is an interesting one. I like to remember it this way: in people with narcolepsy, all the “right kinds” of sleep are happening at all the “wrong times” of day. During the day, when a power nap would typically throw you immediately into REM, this kid is only entering Stage 1 or 2 (lightest sleep = slightest noises jar him back to reality). At night, when he should peacefully drift into Stage 1, 2, and so on, he instead completely zonks out. Classic narcolepsy.

From UpToDate: “Narcolepsy can be conceptualized as a disorder of sleep-wake control in which elements of sleep intrude into wakefulness and elements of wakefulness intrude into sleep.”