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Curr Opin Neurol. 2000 Apr;13(2):171-5.

Sleep and epilepsy.

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Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, The Neurological Institute of Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Sleep disturbance in patients with epilepsy is frequently overlooked, but may contribute to decreased daytime functioning and increased seizure activity. Although complicated, the relationship between sleep and epilepsy is becoming clearer. Sleep, and particularly deep non-rapid-eye-movement sleep, increase interictal epileptiform activity. Sleep increases certain seizure types and the rate of generalization of partial seizures, however rapid-eye-movement sleep seems to suppress seizures. Sleep disorders, particularly sleep apnea, exacerbate seizures. Seizures, in turn, can disrupt sleep structure, particularly rapid-eye-movement sleep. An understanding of these relationships is important in seizure control and in maximizing the quality of life for patients with epilepsy.

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