Sleep disorders are common, treatable conditions that frequently coexist with epilepsy. Understanding the relationship between epilepsy and sleep disorders is important for optimizing management of the epilepsy patient in several ways:

  • Epilepsy and its treatment may affect sleep organization and daytime alertness.
  • Treatment of a coexisting sleep disorder may improve seizure control, daytime alertness, or both.
  • Sleep disorders (e.g., sleepwalking, nocturnal panic disorder, sleep attacks due to excessive daytime sleepiness) may mimic epileptic seizures.

Adapted from: Malow, BA, and Vaughn BV. Sleep disorders and epilepsy. In: Ettinger AB and Devinsky O, eds. Managing epilepsy and co-existing disorders. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann; 2002;239–254. 
With permission from Elsevier ( 

Authored By: 
BA Malow
BV Vaughn
Steven C. Schachter, MD
Authored Date: 
Reviewed By: 
Steven C. Schachter, MD
Thursday, April 29, 2004