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The Management and Alternative Therapies for Comorbid Sleep Disorders in Epilepsy

[ Vol. 19 , Issue. 8 ]


Weifeng Peng, Jing Ding* and Xin Wang   Pages 1264 - 1272 ( 9 )


Background: There is a complex and interactive relationship between sleep and epilepsy. Sleep disorders are common in patients with epilepsy, and methods for managing sleep disorders in patients with epilepsy are limited.

Objective: This review addresses the relationship among sleep, sleep disorders, and epilepsy, focusing on the management of sleep disorders in epilepsy, including some complementary and alternative therapies.

Methods: The terms related to “sleep” and “epilepsy” were searched in “Pubmed” and “Cochrane Library”.

Results: Sleep stages differently affect both seizures and interictal epileptiform discharges. Seizures disrupt sleep architecture greatly, especially when occurring during sleep in the night. Insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are the most frequent types of comorbid sleep disorders in patients with epilepsy. Pharmacological agents with both anti-convulsant and sedative effects are the priorities for comorbid sleep disorders in epilepsy. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is the most effective non-pharmacological method to improve OSA and reduce seizures. Complementary and alternative therapies such as Chinese traditional medicine, cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation, yoga, neurofeedback, and acupuncture may have benefits in reducing seizures and improving sleep quality simultaneously by alleviating stress and seizure triggers; however, evidence- based therapies are still deficient.

Conclusion: Management of sleep disorders in patients with epilepsy is challenging. Large-scale randomized controlled clinical trials are in demand to guide the treatments in the future.


sleep disorders, epilepsy, insomnia, sleep-disordered breathing, parasomnia, management, complementary and alternative therapies.


Department of Neurology, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, Department of Neurology, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, Department of Neurology, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai

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