Narcolepsy type 1 (NT1) is a chronic rare hypersomnia of central origin requiring a combination of behavioral and pharmacological treatments. During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, in Italy the population was forced into a lockdown. With this study, we aimed to describe the lockdown impact on NT1 symptom management, according to different patients’ working schedule.
In the period between 10 April and 15 May 2020, we performed routine follow-up visits by telephone (as recommended during the COVID-19 emergency) to 50 patients >18 years old (40% males) under stable long-term treatment. We divided patients into three groups: unchanged working schedule, forced working/studying at home, and those who lost their job (“lost occupation”). Current sleep-wake habit and symptom severity were compared with prelockdown assessment (six months before) in the three patient groups.
At assessment, 20, 22, and eight patients belonged to the unchanged, working/studying at home, and lost occupation groups, respectively. While in the lost occupation group, there were no significant differences compared with prepandemic assessment, the patients with unchanged schedules reported more nocturnal awakenings, and NT1 patients working/studying at home showed an extension of nocturnal sleep time, more frequent daytime napping, improvement of daytime sleepiness, and a significant increase in their body mass index. Sleep-related paralysis/hallucinations, automatic behaviors, cataplexy, and disturbed nocturnal sleep did not differ.
Narcolepsy type 1 patients working/studying at home intensified behavioral interventions (increased nocturnal sleep time and daytime napping) and ameliorated daytime sleepiness despite presenting with a slight, but significant, increase of weight.
© 2020 The Authors. Brain and Behavior published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.