Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sleep & Epilepsy

A new study evaluated daytime sleepiness in people with epilepsy.

The study involved 83 people who have epilepsy. They were compared with 80 healthy controls. Participants completed the Epworth Sleepiness Scale and an overnight sleep study.

Results show that people with epilepsy had a much higher level of daytime sleepiness than controls. They also spent less time in the
stages of deep, slow-wave sleep and REM sleep. These changes were unrelated to the use of antiepileptic medications.

Epilepsy is a condition that involves recurrent seizures. A seizure is a temporary disturbance in brain function. It occurs when groups of nerve cells in the brain produce abnormal and excessive electrical impulses.

The AASM reports that stress and sleep deprivation are two factors that may trigger seizures. Some types of epilepsy tend to occur only or mainly during sleep. This may cause severe sleep disruption. As a result poor sleep quality and daytime sleepiness may occur.

Sleep disorders also may worsen seizures and complicate their treatment. A study in the journal Sleep found that daytime sleepiness in people with epilepsy may be related to obstructive sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome. Treating OSA with CPAP therapy may improve seizure control.

estimates that more than two million people in the U.S. have epilepsy. New cases are most common among children and older adults.

Conditions that may lead to epilepsy include oxygen deprivation and stroke. But a specific underlying cause is unidentified in about two-thirds of cases.

A recent
journal article provided an overview of sleep and epilepsy. Learn more about sleep disorders at Sleep

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