What Tests Are Used to Diagnose Narcolepsy


Narcolepsy is a rare condition. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke [1], it affects between 135,000 and 200,000 in the United States. Narcolepsy is a condition that causes one to feel sleepy during the day, thereby affecting your sleep-wake cycle.

Proper diagnosis is required for narcolepsy because it can easily be confused with other disorders that disrupt sleep. Some conditions that can easily be mistaken for narcolepsy include brain injuries, sleep apnea [2], and depression. Having some of the significant symptoms of narcolepsy does not mean you have narcolepsy.

For narcolepsy diagnosis, several tests are required. Your doctor will first perform a physical exam and an in-depth medical history to rule out other possible conditions. Then you will need to visit a sleep disorder clinic for a more specialized test. There are primarily two tests that are essential in confirming the diagnosis of narcolepsy, they are:

  • Polysomnogram test
  • Multiple sleep latency tests (MST)

Your doctor might also perform a questionnaire known as the Epworth Sleepiness Scale [3]. This will help measure excessive daytime sleepiness.