The sleep manifestations of frontal lobe epilepsy

Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2011 Apr;11(2):218-26. doi: 10.1007/s11910-011-0180-4.


Frontal lobe seizures have a tendency to occur from sleep, and in some cases occur exclusively (or almost exclusively) from sleep; these individuals are said to have nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy (NFLE). NFLE can be difficult to distinguish clinically from various other sleep disorders, particularly parasomnias, which also present with paroxysmal motor activity in sleep. Here, the manifestations of frontal lobe epilepsy are reviewed in detail, with particular reference to the influence of sleep and the characteristics of NFLE. Key aspects of differential diagnosis are also considered, and the underlying mechanisms involved in NFLE discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arousal / physiology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy, Frontal Lobe / classification
  • Epilepsy, Frontal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / physiopathology*