Subjective sleep disturbances in children with partial epilepsy and their effects on quality of life

Epilepsy Behav. 2013 Sep;28(3):481-8. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2013.06.022. Epub 2013 Jul 25.


Purpose: The purposes of this study were to explore the prevalence of sleep disturbances in a large cohort of school-aged children with partial epilepsy, to compare the findings with those in children without epilepsy of the same age and gender, and to evaluate the relationship between sleep disturbances and health-related quality of life (HRQoL).

Methods: One hundred thirty children with partial epilepsy aged 4 to 10years, who were treated in the outpatient setting of a Dutch epilepsy clinic, and 161 age- and sex-matched controls participated in this study. In addition to providing information about their child's demography and health, parents of both groups of children completed three questionnaires to measure their child's sleep [Sleep Disturbance Scale for Children (SDSC), Medical Outcomes Study-Sleep Scale (MOSS-S), and Groningen Sleep Quality Scale (GSQS)] and one questionnaire to measure quality of life (Kidscreen-27). Parents of children with epilepsy also completed the Hague Scales to measure the severity of epilepsy. The prevalence of sleep disturbances and scores on HRQoL in children with and without epilepsy were compared. Additionally, the HRQoL scores were compared between children with and without sleep disturbances in children both with and without epilepsy.

Results: The answers for all three questionnaires suggested worse sleep in children with epilepsy than in children of the same age and gender without epilepsy. Pathological scores (T-value>70) for total SDSC were seen twelve times more frequently in children with epilepsy (36.92% vs. 3.01%, p<0.001). Children with epilepsy also scored significantly lower for all dimensions of HRQoL. Between subgroups of children with and without disturbed sleep, insignificant differences in quality of life were found, with the lowest scores in children with sleep disturbances in both groups.

Conclusion: This study confirms the high prevalence of disturbed sleep, as well as its effect on quality of life, in a large group of children with partial epilepsy. The abnormalities are both more prevalent and more severe than in children without epilepsy.

Keywords: Child; Partial epilepsy; Quality of life; Sleep disturbance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Epilepsies, Partial / epidemiology*
  • Epilepsies, Partial / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires