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- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Daytime involuntary sleep attacks
- Unrefreshing sleep
- Sudden loss of muscle tone without loss of consciousness
- Temporary paralysis while awakening or falling asleep
- Frightening mental images that appear while awakening or as one falls asleep
- Memory problems
Symptoms may be triggered by:
- A monotonous environment
- A warm environment
- Eating a large meal
- Strong emotions
|Brainstem—Area of Brain Related to Alertness|
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- Multiple sleep latency test (MSLT)—measures the onset of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which occurs earlier than normal in narcolepsy
General sleep lab study—often done the night before an MSLT; helps to rule out other causes of daytime sleepiness by monitoring:
- Brain waves
- Eye movements
- Muscle activity
- Heart beat
- Blood oxygen levels
- Total nighttime sleep
- Amount of nighttime REM sleep
- Time of onset of REM sleep
- Degree of daytime sleepiness
- A questionnaire regarding your degree of daytime sleepiness
- Stimulant medicines that increase levels of daytime alertness
- Antidepressants to help treat symptoms of narcolepsy
- Planned short naps throughout the day
- Counseling to cope with issues of self esteem
- Wearing medical alert jewelry
- Exercising on a regular basis
- Getting adequate sleep at night
Narcolepsy Network http://www.narcolepsynetwork.org
National Sleep Foundation http://www.sleepfoundation.org
Better Sleep Council of Canada http://www.bettersleep.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Bhat A, El Sohl AA. Management of narcolepsy. Expert Opin Pharmacotherapy . 2008;9(10):1721-1733.
Dauvilliers Y, Arnulf I, Mignot E. Narcolepsy with cataplexy. Lancet . 2007;369:499-511.
Feldman NT. Narcolepsy. Southern Medical Journal . 2003;96:277-282.
Narcolepsy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated March 6, 2013. Accessed June 3, 2013.
Narcolepsy fact sheet. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/narcolepsy/detail%5Fnarcolepsy.htm . Updated December 28, 2011. Accessed June 3, 2013.
Narcolepsy: new understanding of irresistible sleep. Mayo Clinic Proceedings . 2001.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD; Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 06/2013
- Update Date: 05/11/2013