Skip to Main Content
A doctor and a nurse speak with a patient as she prepares for her sleep study.


Narcolepsy is a neurological sleep disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness and frequent sleep attacks. These attacks can occur while a person is driving. The sleep pattern of a narcoleptic is irregular at night and during the day. Narcoleptics typically fall into deep sleep within 10 minutes as compared to the average person who falls into deep sleep after 90 minutes. A medical exam will be performed to rule out other sleep disorders, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, psychiatric and/or any neurological disorders.

Once a medical exam and history have been completed, an overnight sleep study is done to rule out other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and periodic limb movements disorder. If no other sleep disorder is present, a series of 5 naps with 1.5 to 2 hours of wake time between each nap called the multi-sleep latency test (MSLT) is used to diagnose narcolepsy. This test is reviewed by a physician with a specialty in sleep medicine who interprets and makes recommendations for patients.

Featured Updates

Guide to self-care for caregivers + free habit tracker

OCT 26, 2021

Check out these helpful resources on understanding caregiver burnout, how to ask for caregiver support, and taking breaks to get the self-care you need.

Read More Additional information about Guide to self-care for caregivers + free habit tracker

Find a Doctor

Looking for a doctor? Perform a quick search by name or browse by specialty.

U.S. News & World Report

U.S News & World Report has recognized Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center as one of the best hospitals for several specialties.