Electrical status epilepticus during slow sleep (ESES) or continuous spikes and waves during slow sleep (CSWS) is a phenomenon characterized by strong activation of epileptiform activity in the electroencephalogram (EEG) during sleep. The literature contains several small series of patients and many case reports. Large prospective studies are lacking. Definitions of the syndromes and EEG criteria and methods vary, as does their classification. The fluctuating clinical course and EEG findings complicate the diagnostic process and evaluation of effect of therapy. Studies describing quantitative aspects of the epileptiform abnormalities in EEG are overrepresented in literature, whereas qualitative aspects are relatively undervalued. Guidelines for evaluation of the EEG in these syndromes, which focus on both aspects, are presented.