by Preda A

The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. The diagnosis may be suspected in people who have had been very sleepy during the day for three or more months even though they have gotten enough sleep. The person may also have periods of sudden loss in muscle tone triggered by strong emotions.

Sleep studies will need to be done. Options are:

  • Polysomnogram tests —The person will spend a night in a sleep center attached to monitors. They will keep track of heart rate, eye movements, brain waves, and muscle activity when sleeping to look for signs of narcolepsy. One sign is falling in and out of deep sleep faster. Breathing and changes in oxygen in the blood will also be checked.
  • Multiple sleep latency test—This may be done the day after a sleep test. The person will take 20 minute naps every 2 hours during the day. This will check how fast it takes to fall asleep. It will also track how fast the person reaches different levels of sleep, mainly REM sleep. Questionnaires may also need to be filled out.


Narcolepsy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed April 25, 2022.

Narcolepsy. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. National Institutes of Health website. Available at: Accessed April 26, 2022.

Narcolepsy fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: Accessed April 25, 2022.

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