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The Seizure-Sleep Connection

Child Sleeping in Bed

Did you know that not getting enough sleep can be a seizure trigger? Or that sleep disruptions, which affect the quality of sleep, can increase the number and severity of seizures?

Getting a good night’s sleep plays a critical role in the health and wellbeing of all people, but it is particularly important for people with epilepsy. In today’s 24-hour culture, however, it can be harder than ever before to turn off, tune out, and settle down for the night.

Yet it can be done. If you suspect that sleeplessness is affecting seizure control for you or a loved one, here are some tips for optimizing the conditions under which you fall sleep (also known as sleep hygiene) – and for getting the best night’s sleep possible, even with epilepsy.

Do:

  • Exercise, but do so early in the day
  • Go to bed at a regular time
  • Sleep in a room that is dark, quiet and well-ventilated
  • Use your bed and bedroom primarily for sleep
  • Engage in quiet activities outside your bedroom if you cannot fall asleep
  • Get up at the same time every morning

Don’t:

  • Take long naps during the day
  • Eat late at night
  • Engage in strenuous mental or physical activity late in the day
  • Use caffeine, alcohol or nicotine, especially late in the day
  • Stay in bed when you can’t fall asleep
  • Use electronic devices late at night

While nobody gets a good night’s sleep every night, using these tips can help improve the length and quality of your rest. So try these sleep hygiene strategies and see what happens when you embrace healthy sleep habits. You may find that you can achieve both a better night’s sleep, tonight – and improved seizure control, tomorrow. Until then, sweet dreams.

Note: Some people with epilepsy suffer from night-time seizures, making it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Speak to your epileptologist or neurologist about achieving better night-time control of seizures and get ideas about how to manage night-time seizures at http://www.epilepsy.com/article/2016/7/dilemmas-seizures-night-or-other-predictable-times.

For additional information about epilepsy and sleep, visit http://www.epilepsy.com/learn/impact/sleep-and-epilepsy.

April 14, 2017 | Categories: General

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