Narcolepsy Specialist

Golden Gate Sleep Centers

Internists & Sleep Medicine Specialists located in Danville, CA & Fremont, CA

Narcolepsy is a serious sleep disorder that affects an estimated 1 in 2,000 people in the United States, though only 25% of sufferers are diagnosed and treated correctly. At Golden Gate Sleep Centers, Puja Thakkar, DO and her team work with their patients in Danville and Fremont, California to find appropriate solutions for this serious issue. Narcolepsy can significantly impact your quality of life for the worse. If you’re ready to gain more control over your symptoms, call or fill out the online form to schedule an appointment.


What is narcolepsy?

The hallmark of narcolepsy is the inability to control sleeping and waking. This neurological disorder is marked by excessive sleepiness, episodes of paralysis, hallucinations, and the sudden onset of sleep during the day, no matter what you’re doing at the time.

For most people, sleep typically follows a staged progression that occurs in this order:

  • Light stage of sleep, the body maintains muscle tone and normal respiration
  • Eye movement stops and metabolic processes slow
  • Onset of deep sleep, also called slow-wave sleep
  • Continuation of deep sleep, difficult to wake individual
  • Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, associated with dreams

People with narcolepsy bypass the early stages of sleep and go straight to REM sleep, both at night and during the day. There’s no known cause of narcolepsy, but researchers believe that the foundation of the problem is likely genetic.

What are the symptoms of narcolepsy?

While it may seem like the diagnosis of narcolepsy is straightforward, there are multiple symptoms to take into account. Furthermore, some people may experience more subtle manifestations of the disorder.

Common symptoms of narcolepsy include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness or drowsiness
  • Inability to control sleeping and waking
  • Cataplexy, or episodes of paralysis outside of REM sleep

The symptoms of narcolepsy typically present between the ages of 10 and 30, though they have been known to develop at any age.

How is narcolepsy evaluated?

Narcolepsy is a tricky condition to diagnose, but Dr. Thakkar and her team have the expertise and facilities to diagnose your sleep problem accurately.

Dr. Thakkar will perform an extensive physical exam and review your medical history. She will likely conduct further testing to understand your condition. These tests may include the following:


This is typically an overnight test where Dr. Thakkar measures and records vital information about the activity of your brain and muscles during your sleep. She also uses this test to rule out or confirm other diagnoses, such as sleep apnea.

Multiple Sleep Latency Test

During this test, Dr. Thakkar evaluates your sleep during the day by having you take five naps spaced two hours apart. If you fall asleep quickly, within eight minutes, and reach REM sleep in less than 15 minutes, it’s a good indicator of narcolepsy.

How is narcolepsy treated?

If Dr. Thakkar diagnoses narcolepsy, she will turn to numerous treatment options. She may also consider using a combination of approaches tailored to your unique situation. These treatments include:

  • Medications, such as stimulants or antidepressants
  • Changes in lifestyle, such as avoiding caffeine
  • Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule
  • Utilizing relaxation techniques
  • Starting an exercise regimen

If you’re struggling to gain control over your sleep, call Golden Gate Sleep Centers, or use the online booking tool to schedule an appointment.