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Narcolepsy in Children

Pediatric Sleep Center Provides Comprehensive and Compassionate Care for Children with Narcolepsy

University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital offers the latest medical advancements available to treat common sleep problems in children and teenagers. Our board-certified physicians at the Pediatric Sleep Center are highly trained in screening children of all ages for narcolepsy, a sleep disorder that is characterized by overwhelming sleepiness.

Narcolepsy Symptoms in Children

Narcolepsy causes children and teens to nap frequently or involuntarily fall asleep throughout the day, whether or not they slept well at night. Other symptoms of narcolepsy may include:

  • Sudden loss of muscle tone or episodes of weakness
  • Sensation of being unable to move before or after sleep
  • Hallucinations
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Difficulty in concentrating or memorizing

While narcolepsy symptoms usually start around puberty, doctors also see this sleep disorder in children as young as age five. This chronic (long-term) sleep disorder is genetically based and involves the body’s central nervous system.

Narcolepsy Treatment in Children

Esteemed sleep doctors at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital Pediatric Sleep Center understand narcolepsy in children and teens. After performing a complete medical history and physical exam, doctors may recommend an overnight sleep study (polysomnogram) to learn more about the child’s sleep disorder. The polysomnogram is performed at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital or at a nearby suburban hotel location and monitors various parameters during the child’s entire night of sleep.

Once our experts learn more about the child’s sleep disorder, treatment for narcolepsy in children may include medication and learning good sleep habits in order to maintain restful sleep patterns.