The intimate relationship between sleep and epilepsy has long been recognized, yet our understanding of the relationship is incomplete. In this article we address four key issues in this area. First, we consider the reciprocal interaction between sleep and epilepsy. Sleep state clearly influences seizure onset, particularly in certain epilepsy syndromes. The converse is also true; epilepsy may disrupt sleep, either directly through seizures and epileptiform activity, or indirectly through medication-related effects. Unraveling the influences of sleep stage, epilepsy syndrome, and drug effects is challenging, and the current state of knowledge is reviewed. Secondly, accurate diagnosis of sleep-related epilepsy can be difficult, particularly the distinction of nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy (NFLE) from arousal parasomnias. The challenges in this area, along with work from the authors, are discussed. Thirdly, we will explore the putative relationship between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and epilepsy, including the effect of OSA on quality of life; this will lead us to a brief exploration of the effects of OSA on neuroendocrine function. Finally, we will review the evidence surrounding the role of sleep in sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP).
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.