Excessive daytime sleepiness and sleep complaints among children with epilepsy

Epilepsy Behav. 2006 Feb;8(1):272-7. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2005.11.002. Epub 2005 Dec 13.


Objective: Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) and sleep complaints are common among adults with epilepsy. We hypothesized that children with epilepsy have worse daytime sleepiness compared with controls.

Methods: Children with and without epilepsy between ages 8 and 18 were recruited for the study. Parents and children were asked to fill out the Pediatric Sleep Questionnaire (PSQ) and Pediatric Daytime Sleepiness Scale (PDSS), respectively. The Mann-Whitney U test was used for group comparisons, with the Fischer exact or chi2 test for categorical variables. Regression analysis was used to identify predictors of EDS.

Results: Twenty-six patients and matched controls were recruited for the study. Parents of children with epilepsy more often reported EDS (P < 0.001), symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing (P < 0.001), and parasomnias (P < 0.001) compared with controls. On the PDSS, children with epilepsy reported worse daytime sleepiness scores compared with controls (15.48 +/- 6.4 vs 11.88 +/- 5.25, P = 0.037). Based on conditional logistic regression modeling, symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness [corrected] (OR = 15.3, 95% CI = 1.4-166.6) and parasomnias (OR = 12.4, 95% CI = 1.01-151.6) were significantly associated with having epilepsy when adjusted for duration of nightime sleep. Further, 10 children (38.5%) with epilepsy reported positive sleep-disordered breathing, whereas no one in the control group reported SDB (P < 0.001) [corrected] Epilepsy syndrome, anticonvulsants used, and presence or absence of seizure freedom, however, were not significant predictors of EDS among patients.

Conclusions: Daytime sleepiness appears to be common in children with epilepsy, and may be due to underlying sleep disorders. Further confirmatory studies are needed using screening questionnaires and formal sleep studies to systematically study the prevalence of sleep complaints and role of sleep disorders in these patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence / epidemiology*
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence / etiology
  • Epilepsy / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Parasomnias / epidemiology*
  • Parasomnias / etiology
  • Parents
  • Pilot Projects
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / etiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires