Nocturnal seizures are seizures that occur during sleep and more often associated with epilepsy. Some people who have been diagnosed with epilepsy will have seizure during the day and night, but nighttime seizures are difficult to detect. However, some people only have seizures at night, which is called pure nocturnal epilepsy.
Nocturnal seizures are connected to the sleep-wake-cycle and are triggered by changes in the electrical activity in your brain when moving between the different stages of sleep.
There are five stages of sleep, which include Non-REM Stages 1, 2, 3, and 4 and REM sleep. Nocturnal seizures typically occur at any time during the sleep cycle besides during REM sleep.
When Nocturnal Seizures Typically Occur
- Within the first hour or two after going to sleep
- One to two hours before waking up
- Within the first hour after waking up
- Seizures may also happen during naps
Nocturnal Seizure Symptoms
Nocturnal seizures are difficult to detect as they occur when you are sleeping and can have symptoms that may be confused with another sleep disorder such as sleepwalking, teeth grinding or restless leg syndrome. Other symptoms include:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty learning
- Behavioral issues
- A change in emotion
Treatment for Nocturnal Seizures
It is important to diagnose and treat nocturnal seizures early on, as they can interrupt sleep and impact daily life. Treatment of nocturnal seizures is similar to seizures that occur during the day, but a specialist may recommend a higher evening dose of antiepileptic medication. Medical management of seizures is based on the type of seizures rather than on the time of occurrence.
Get Treatment for Nocturnal Seizures
If you or a loved one suffers from one of these symptoms, contact Sleep Center at Comprehensive today to schedule a sleep study.