Everyone gets sleepy during the day now and then. While the occasional bout of post-meal drowsiness is normal, feeling the urge to nod off in the daytime could signal health problems. It may be that you’re simply not allowing yourself enough time for sleep at night. However, if you are concerned about being too sleepy during the day, talk to a doctor.
Below are some suggestions to help prepare you for your first doctor visit and some information on what to expect during your appointment. You can also view and print some questions to ask your doctor and note any additional ones that you would like to ask your doctor.
The doctor will want to know what symptoms you have and when they started. It might be a good idea to track them for a week or two because it can be difficult to remember your daily experiences over time. Many sleep centers offer a form for a sleep diary you can fill out. You’ll want to note down when you go to sleep and wake up. You could also keep track of your daytime sleepiness and any episodes of muscle weakness.
It will also be important for the doctor to know other factors that can affect sleep, such as whether you smoke, drink caffeine or alcohol, or exercise.
Think ahead about your health history, recalling when your symptoms began and when they might have gotten worse or better over time. Many people with narcolepsy are not diagnosed for many years because they blame other problems for their symptoms.
The doctor will want to know about your family’s health history and if you have relatives with sleep problems or narcolepsy. It might be worthwhile to ask relatives about this before your medical visit.
The doctor will also want to know about any medications you are currently taking. You might want to write these down or bring in the prescriptions if you are currently taking any medications.
A diagnosis of narcolepsy also usually involves some tests that take place in the sleep clinic overnight. Often the overnight polysomnogram, which monitors your body while you sleep, is followed by a daytime multiple sleep latency test, or nap study, that measures how easily you fall asleep during the day. Another narcolepsy test determines the levels of a substance called hypocretin in the fluid surrounding your spinal cord; a low level is often associated with a diagnosis of narcolepsy.
These are in addition to a physical exam that may look for other possible diagnoses that can cause similar symptoms.
Talk with a XYREM Patient Connection Mentor
The XYREM Patient Connection program provides an opportunity for you to talk one-on-one with a mentor who has been diagnosed with excessive daytime sleepiness and/or cataplexy with narcolepsy, and has been treated with XYREM.