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Semin Pediatr Neurol. 2008 Jun;15(2):42-9. doi: 10.1016/j.spen.2008.03.007.

The relationship between sleep and epilepsy.

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Pediatric Epilepsy Section, Cleveland Clinic Neurological Institute, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.


The occurrence of seizures in the sleep state is observed in nearly one third of patients. This is caused by an intimate relationship between the physiological state of sleep and the pathological process underlying epileptic seizures. Both sleep and sleep deprivation influence the frequency of epileptiform discharges on electroencephalograms as well as the occurrence of clinical seizures, typically during nonrapid eye movement sleep. The relationship of epileptiform activity to nonrapid eye movement sleep is vividly shown in the syndrome of continuous spikes in slow-wave sleep and the Landau-Kleffner syndrome. Seizure semiology can also be influenced by sleep and sleep deprivation. Sleep disorders may influence seizure control, and effective treatment of sleep disorders can improve seizure control. Seizures, antiepileptic drugs, ketogenic diet, and vagus nerve stimulation all influence sleep quality, daytime alertness, and neurocognitive function.

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