Sleep Complaints And Sleep Hygiene

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Patients with epilepsy commonly report sleep disturbances. Using a six item questionnaire, the frequency of sleep disorder symptoms was compared with 30 treated patients having epilepsy and 23 normal adults (Hoeppner et al., 1984). Patients with simple and complex partial seizures had a higher incidence of sleep symptoms than patients with generalized seizures and normal subjects. The most common complaint was frequent nocturnal awakenings. Patients with seizures at least every month had more sleep-related symptoms and nocturnal awakenings than those with yearly seizures or less.

As in the general population, poor sleep hygiene is a common cause of daytime sleepiness and insomnia. In a survey of 100 patients with epilepsy,

37% reported poor sleep (Lannon and Vaughn, 1997). These patients had less exercise and more irregular sleep patterns, took more naps, and consumed more caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco within 6 h of bedtime than those without sleep complaints. Environmental barriers to sleep were identified in 40% of patients reporting poor sleep. Patients with poor sleep were less likely to be seizure free and more likely to have daytime sleepiness. Poor sleep hygiene practices were identified in one-third of 270 epilepsy patients in another series (Manni et al., 1998). Inadequate meals, smoking, evening naps, high mental level demanding activities close to bedtime, and sleep deprivation were the most frequent transgressions. Poor sleep hygiene practices were more common in males and younger patients.

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