Sleep Disorders Center of Santa Maria

Call Us:  +1.8056149250

Have you had the sudden urge to sleep during the day even though you’re getting enough sleep at night?

Have you fallen asleep while working, eating or speaking with someone?

Have you felt alert after a brief nap but then the alertness quickly changes to sleepiness?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, there is a chance that you have narcolepsy.

Approximately 1 in  2,000 people in the United States have narcolepsy.  Many people with narcolepsy are unaware of the condition and are undiagnosed.   The cause of narcolepsy is not completely understood, our current understanding is that narcolepsy is caused by damage to a small group of neurons in the brain.  The damaged neurons normally make a neurotransmitter (hypocretin/orexin) which is important in alertness.  

Narcolepsy is not a common sleep problem and it can be difficult to make a correct diagnosis.  The specialists at the Sleep Disorders Center of Santa Maria  can help make the proper diagnosis.   Schedule an appointment with for a consultation.  If it appears after the evaluation that you may have narcolepsy we will perform a combination of the appropriate tests to help determine if you have narcolepsy.

Typical testing to diagnosis narcolepsy includes a diagnostic polysomnogram and a MSLT

In-lab overnight sleep study (polysomnogram) is a sleep study that requires you to stay overnight at the sleep center so we can observe and measure your sleep. You will sleep with sensors attached to different parts of your body that record your brain waves, heartbeat and other aspects of your sleep. The polysomnogram  will show if there are other problems, such as sleep apnea, that are causing your excessive daytime sleepiness or sleep attacks. 

Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)  Also known as a nap study, the MSLT measures your daytime sleepiness. The test requires you to attempt to take multiple naps a sleep lab at set times throughout the day. It is used to see how quickly you fall asleep in quiet daytime situations. For each nap trial you are asked to lie quietly in bed in a dark room and try to go to sleep. Most people with narcolepsy fall asleep in an average of three minutes during the MSLT. Read more...

Hypocretin Level Measurement

In rare cases, the physician will need to measure your hypocretin (orexin) levels. Hypocretin is the neurotransmitter that controls arousal, wakefulness and appetite. People with narcolepsy with cataplexy usually have a lack of hypocretin. Because this exam requires a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) it is rarely used.