Sleep quality and daytime sleepiness in patients with epilepsy

Acta Neurol Taiwan. 2011 Dec;20(4):249-56.


Purpose: Poor sleep quality and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) are common complaints of patients with epilepsy (PWE). This study aimed to evaluate possible predisposing factors for EDS and subjective sleep quality in PWE.

Methods: One hundred and seventeen PWE were enrolled and 30 healthy volunteers were recruited as controls. EDS was evaluated by the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) while the Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) was designed to evaluate overall sleep quality. Clinical baseline data and possible risk factors for sleep disturbances were included in the statistical analysis.

Results: Twenty percent of PWE (23/117) and 7% of healthy controls (2/30) had excessive daytime sleepiness (p = 0.007). PWE had significantly higher PSQI total scores (6.5 ± 3.8 vs. 3.7 ± 2.9), sleep latency (1.2 ± 0.8 vs. 0.6 ± 0.7) and sleep efficiency (0.8 ± 1.0 vs. 0.0 ± 0.2) scores than the controls (all p < 0.001). A significantly higher prevalence of poor sleep quality was found in the partial seizure, non-seizure-free, and polytherapy groups (all p < 0.05). Multivariate analysis showed that poor seizure control was the strongest independent risk factor for poor sleep quality (OR = 2.43, 95% CI = 1.15-5.15, p = 0.02).

Conclusion: EDS and poor sleep quality are common in PWE and are closely related to partial epilepsy, poor seizure control, and polytherapy. These relationships must be addressed in order to provide the best management of sleep disturbance in such patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Epilepsy / complications*
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology*
  • Sleep*