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Sleep Med Rev. 2011 Dec;15(6):357-68. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2011.01.002. Epub 2011 Mar 24.

Sleep disturbances in people with epilepsy; prevalence, impact and treatment.

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Department of Clinical Neurophysiology and Sleep Centre SEIN Zwolle, Dokter Denekampweg 20, 8025 BV Zwolle, The Netherlands.


The interaction between epilepsy and sleep is thoroughly studied and is very complex. This review focuses on prevalence, impact on quality of life and effects of treatment of sleep disorders on the course of epilepsy. Self-reported sleep disturbances in people with epilepsy are about twice as prevalent as in healthy controls. People with epilepsy with sleep disturbances have a significant impairment of quality of life compared to those with no sleep disturbances. In children with epilepsy, sleep problems may lead to detrimental effects on daytime behavior and cognition. Most is known about obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). Co-morbidity of epilepsy and OSAS is shown to be far higher than expected by chance. Treatment of OSAS significantly improves seizure control in people with epilepsy. More studies on the prevalence of other sleep disorders in people with epilepsy and the effect of treatment are required. Reports on the effect of treatment for other sleep disorders are scarce and not unequivocal.

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