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Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 1, 2023.

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that causes severe sleepiness and frequent sudden daytime attacks of sleep. Narcolepsy can cause you to fall asleep at any time but can keep you from sleeping well at night. You do not get enough sleep in a 24-hour period. The cause of narcolepsy is not known.


Call your doctor if:

  • Your symptoms interfere with your daily activities.
  • You are not able to sleep well at night, even with treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Medicines may help keep you awake during the day or help decrease your symptoms.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Manage your symptoms:

  • Take naps. This can help control your narcolepsy. Take 20-minute naps at the same times every day. One long nap in the afternoon may also help.
  • Keep a sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same times every day.
  • Do not drink alcohol, caffeine, or use tobacco. These can interfere with your sleep and make your symptoms worse.
  • Exercise regularly at least 4 hours before you go to bed. Exercise helps you stay awake during the day and sleep better at night. Ask about the best exercise plan for you.
    Walking for Exercise

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

Wear medical alert identification:

Wear medical alert jewelry or carry a card that says you have narcolepsy. Ask your healthcare provider where to get these items.

Medical Alert Jewelry

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

You may need to see a sleep specialist. You may need to come in up to 4 times each month for treatment. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Narcolepsy

Treatment options

Care guides

Symptoms and treatments guides (external)

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.