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01 March 2016

Study demonstrates link between epilepsy and sleep disturbances

A study in South Korea has provided new evidence that epilepsy is linked with sleep disturbance.

Led by Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, researchers aimed to document the frequency of sleep problems in subjects with epilepsy and determine factors associated with these difficulties.

A study sample of 180 people with epilepsy and 2,836 ‘healthy controls’ were recruited, and information was obtained for each person about sleep problems (relative to age), gender, body mass index, alcohol intake, smoking, perceived sleep insufficiency and habitual snoring.

Published in the medical journal Epilepsy & Behavior, the results showed that sleep disturbance was more common in the people with epilepsy than in controls, and that poor sleep quality, excessive daytime sleepiness and insomnia were all significantly linked to epilepsy. In addition, people with epilepsy who had experienced seizure remissions for the previous year were generally found to have insomnia less often. As expected, depressive mood, anxiety and perceived sleep insufficiency were also associated with sleep disturbance.

The researchers concluded: “Epilepsy was significantly associated with the higher frequency of sleep disturbances, which supports the importance of screening sleep problems in patients with epilepsy and providing available intervention.”