Diagnosis of Narcolepsy

Sometimes, your doctor can diagnose narcolepsy based on your symptoms. These include sleep or weakness attacks that you can't control. If your doctor isn't sure, you may have some tests:

  • Polysomnogram tests —You will spend a night in a sleep center. Your body will be hooked up to monitors so you can be watched. These will keep track of your heart rate, eye movements, brain waves, and muscle activity while you sleep. Breathing and changes in oxygen in the blood are also checked. People with narcolepsy go in and out of deep sleep faster.
  • Multiple sleep latency test—This may be done the day after your sleep test. You will take 20 minute naps every 2 hours during the day. This will check how fast you fall asleep. It will also track how fast you reach different levels of sleep, mainly REM sleep. You may need to fill out questionnaires. People with narcolepsy fall asleep faster.


Narcolepsy. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116132/Narcolepsy . Updated November 14, 2017. Accessed September 5, 2018.
Narcolepsy. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. National Institutes of Health website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/narcolepsy. Accessed September 5, 2018.
Narcolepsy fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Narcolepsy-Fact-Sheet. Updated July 6, 2018. Accessed September 5, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 9/5/2018

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at healthlibrarysupport@ebsco.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.