The epileptic or nonepileptic origin of nocturnal paroxysmal dystonia (NPD) has been debated. We studied three patients with frequent attacks during non-REM sleep. During prolonged video-EEG monitoring, two patients had a convulsive seizure after a typical NPD episode and on these occasions EEG showed epileptiform discharge. In the three patients, attacks occurred repeatedly with different intensity, representing "fragments" of the same seizure. These fragments of the attack could occur periodically every 20-40 s. We postulate that short NPD attacks are actually epileptic seizures originating from the frontal lobes. The rhythmicity of the episodes may be due to rhythmic oscillation of cortical function during non-REM sleep.