Sleep Disturbances in Patients with Autoimmune Encephalitis

Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2020 Jun 10;20(7):28. doi: 10.1007/s11910-020-01048-0.


Purpose of review: To review sleep complaints reported in patients with autoimmune encephalitis, explore the relationship between sleep disturbances and subtypes of autoimmune encephalitis, and leverage knowledge concerning antibody-antigen specificity to inform the receptors, structures, and disseminated neural networks that contribute to sleep function in health and disease.

Recent findings: Autoimmune encephalitis is an inflammatory brain disorder characterized by the subacute onset of psychiatric symptoms, cognitive impairment, and focal neurologic deficits or seizures. Sleep disturbances are detected in a majority of patients systematically screened for sleep complaints, may be the presenting symptom in patients with autoimmune encephalitis, and may compromise recovery in patients with autoimmune encephalitis. Early recognition of specific sleep disturbances in patients with subacute changes in behavior or cognition may support the diagnosis of autoimmune encephalitis. Similarly, recognition and treatment of sleep dysfunction in patients with known autoimmune encephalitis may speed recovery and improve long-term outcomes.

Keywords: Antibody-mediated encephalitis; Autoimmune encephalitis; Polysomnography; Sleep dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Encephalitis* / complications
  • Encephalitis* / diagnosis
  • Encephalitis* / epidemiology
  • Hashimoto Disease* / complications
  • Humans
  • Sleep

Supplementary concepts

  • Hashimoto's encephalitis