Sunday, August 26, 2018


Epileptic seizures and sleep cycles is a complex realm of neuroscience that will not be addressed here. 

Epileptic seizures are often precipitated by a combination of various clinical factors, but, we find that sleep loss stands out as an independent seizure-trigger in neurology clinics. This variable can be controlled by our epilepsy patients. 

Below is a representative study. It supports obtaining adequate sleep of eight hours per night. In a prospective, observational cross-over study, 179 consecutive hospital admissions for epileptic seizures were included.1 The sleep duration prior to the seizure, as well as alcohol, caffeine and drug use, were recorded.

Complete data for analysis were retrieved in 144 patients. The sleep-time during the 24 hours prior to the seizure was lower (7.3 hours) compared to follow-up (8.3 hours) longer seizure-free periods. Caffeine consumption and use of relevant non-antiepileptic drugs (AED) were not different.

I emphasize that sleep-rest is critical in helping control epilepsy. Be sure to get an adequate night’s sleep, preferably at least eight hours to support your anti-convulsant medications.

1)      Samsonsen C, Sand T, BrĂ¥then G, The impact of sleep loss on the facilitation of seizures: A prospective case-crossover study. Epilepsy Research November 2016, Volume 127, Pages 260-266.

Lance Fogan, M.D. is Clinical Professor of Neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “DINGS” is his first novel. It is a mother’s dramatic story that teaches epilepsy, now available in eBook, audiobook and soft cover editions.