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Narcolepsy in adults - NICE guidance - suspected neurological conditions - recognition and referral

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Sleep disorders in adults

Summary points from NICE guidance relating to sleep disorders in adults are:


Offer advice on sleep hygiene to adults with insomnia.

  • do not routinely refer adults with insomnia, jerks on falling asleep or isolated brief episodes of sleep paralysis

Symptoms that suggest new-onset epileptic seizures

  • refer urgently adults with symptoms suggestive of new-onset epileptic seizures in sleep for neurological assessment

Excessive sleepiness and narcolepsy

For adults with excessive sleepiness:

  • use the Epworth score together with history of obstructive symptoms in sleep to assess the likelihood of sleep apnoea
  • refer in accordance with local policy
  • if appropriate, offer advice on weight reduction, alcohol consumption and smoking cessation

Refer adults with narcolepsy, with or without cataplexy, for neurological assessment

Sleep behaviour disorders

  • consider referring adults with persistent symptoms suggestive of sleep behaviour disorders (such as agitated or violent movements that are more complex than a simple jerking motion) for neurological assessment.


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