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Narcolepsy is a chronic (long-lasting) neurological disorder that involves your body’s central nervous system (CNS) – meaning that it affects your brain and nerves. The CNS is the network of nerves that carries messages from your brain to other areas of your body.

If you have narcolepsy, the messages about when to sleep and when to be awake don’t travel through your CNS properly. This is why someone who has narcolepsy that is not managed by medicine or other therapy may fall asleep while eating dinner, working, or spending time with friends or family.

About one in every 2,000 people suffers from narcolepsy. The disorder affects both men and women of all ages, though its symptoms are usually noticed after puberty begins. For most people with narcolepsy, their first symptoms appear between the ages of 15 and 30.

The main characteristic of narcolepsy is excessive and overwhelming daytime sleepiness, even after getting an adequate night's sleep. A person with narcolepsy will become drowsy or fall asleep at inappropriate times and places, and sleep attacks (sudden, uncontrollable incident of falling asleep) may occur with or without warning. Sleep attacks can repeatedly occur in a single day, drowsiness may persist for prolonged periods of time, and nighttime sleep may be interrupted with frequent awakenings.

The sleep medicine experts at the University of Miami Health System are experienced in effectively treating narcolepsy.


Sleep Study An adult or pediatric sleep study (also called polysomnography) is performed in our sleep clinic. While you sleep, we collect information such as breathing patterns, blood oxygen levels, brain wave activity, muscle tone, heart rhythm, and eye movements. This information is captured using small, painless electrodes attached to your body and elastic bands around your chest and abdomen.

Because we’re open 24/7, we offer a variety of studies including:

  • Maintenance wakefulness test (MWT): measures how alert you are during the day
  • Multiple latency sleep test (MSLT): a test that checks your daytime sleepiness by monitoring how quickly you fall asleep in a quiet, daytime environment
  • Round-the-clock, all-night continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP): a breathing machine that constantly pushes air through the nose, or nose and mouth, to keep the airways open while you sleep

Physical Examination Your sleep medicine specialist will perform a comprehensive physical exam – including gathering a detailed health history – to diagnose your narcolepsy.


Your sleep medicine specialist may prescribe a stimulant medicine to help you stay awake during the day.

Why Choose UHealth?

Regional leaders in sleep medicine and sleep surgery. As a fully accredited comprehensive sleep center, our program meets and exceeds the rigorous standards set by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. This designation recognizes our facility, services, and providers for the highest commitment to safety and quality care.

Multispecialty care customized for your good health and overall wellness. Depending on your condition, your team can include ear, nose, and throat doctors (ENT), pulmonologists (lung specialists), neurologists, psychiatrists, and weight management specialists with special expertise in sleep disorders. You receive the best care possible when we’re all working together for you.

Sleep studies offered 24/7 in a state-of-the-art sleep center. You can rest assured that you receive the most advanced care available. Sleep studies and tests are conducted in a modern, comfortable center — including the latest technology and a friendly, knowledgeable staff.

Questions? We're here to help.

Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.