There are several Food & Drug Administration (FDA) cleared pharmaceuticals for patients with narcolepsy, but healthcare providers should be aware that patients are also helped by non-drug therapies, such as naps, to help control symptoms (in conjunction with medication) too. This is according to the FDA “Voice of the Patient” report, released earlier this year.

Almost all participating patients told the FDA that naps are key to keeping narcolepsy symptoms at bay. Sometimes patients must take multiple naps in the same day, the report found.

Other top complementary non-drug therapies identified by patients are:

  • Exercise. “Some participants said that their quality of life improved with exercise, but not their specific narcolepsy symptoms,” the report states.
  • Dietary changes. One patient reported that a gluten-free diet helped ease symptoms.
  • Vitamins and other dietary supplements. Some patients identified magnesium, omega-3, and B complex as helping to address cognitive effects of the sleep disorder.
  • Massage or acupuncture. A few patients said massage or acupuncture helped alleviate muscle aches and tension.
  • Coping methods. These can include having a flexible schedule, investing in a high quality bed, and avoiding certain stressful situations.