Effect of epilepsy on sleep

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Sleep disturbances are well recognized in patients with epilepsy. The changes reported in the literature with regard to the effect of epilepsy on sleep architecture include an increase of sleep onset latency, an increase in the wake time after sleep onset (WASO), increased instability of sleep stages, increased stage 1 and 2 NREM sleep (light sleep), a decrease in sleep spindle density, and a decrease in REM sleep. With regard to the pathophysiology of the sleep disturbances in these patients, one needs to consider the following mechanisms: (1) the epilepsy itself may be associated with a sleep disturbance due to a mechanism intrinsic to the disease itself without the effect of the associated seizures, (2) the effect of seizures on sleep, and (3) the effect of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) on the sleep architecture.

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