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Can Sleep Apnea Cause Nocturnal Seizures

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Nocturnal Seizures In Children

Sleep Problems : About Seizures During Sleep

Several types of childhood epilepsy can cause nocturnal seizures.

Benign rolandic epilepsy, the most common form of childhood epilepsy, usually disappears in adulthood. The primary symptom is nighttime seizures.

Children with this form of epilepsy may also have migraines or behavioral issues. Most children with this form of epilepsy have a family history of seizures.

Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, sometimes called Janz syndrome, typically begins in adolescence, and the seizures may be short at first. Doctors do not know what causes this type of epilepsy, but it may be genetic.

Not all nighttime seizures in children mean the child has epilepsy. Between 2% and 5% of children under 5 years of age in the United States experience , which happen when they have a fever.

Can A Person Have Mini Seizures While Sleeping

While some patients arent adversely affected by their sleep patterns, many do find that they tend to have issues during the night. Some experience mini seizures while sleeping. Seizures occur because sleep activates select electrical signals that can trigger seizers, especially if the patient has benign focal epilepsy, also called Rolandic epilepsy.

Mini seizures can happen any time during the sleep cycle, but they commonly occur during stages one and two. These are lighter levels of sleep, and the brain is between the sleeping and waking states. The patient may wake or remain unaware.

Why Do Nocturnal Seizures Occur

Having seizure during sleep can be a feature of virtually any type of epilepsy. Some people have seizures exclusively during the night, while others can have a seizure that occurs both during the daytime and nighttime. The International League Against Epilepsy defines nocturnal seizures as seizures occurring exclusively or predominantly from sleep. An estimated 12 percent of people with epilepsy have nocturnal seizures.

It is believed that nocturnal seizures are strongly influenced by the sleep-wake cycle. The process of sleep is quite complicated with many physiologic changes occurring the body and especially the brain. There are a total of five different stages of sleep which are characterized by brain wave changes. This electrical activity within the brain moves a person between the different stages with the brain constantly cycling through them throughout the night.

Out of all the stages, the fifth stage or rapid eye movement stage doesnt seem to induce seizure activity. The remaining four stages are therefore the most likely place for nocturnal seizures to occur. Stages one and two, also called light sleep phase, are often regarded as being the most common seizure stage of sleep.

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My Dog Only Has Seizures When Sleeping

Dogs, similar to humans, tend to have seizures at times where there is a change of brain activity, like waking up, falling asleep, or when they are scared or excited. The transition between waking up or falling asleep is a prevalent time for seizures to occur, so it is possible for your dog only to have seizures while sleeping.

Can You Have A Seizure If You Have Sleep Apnea

Sleep Disorders Associated with Epilepsy

For those with epilepsy, sleep apnea has been known to create a higher likelihood of night seizures. When your breathing gets cut off, it can cause your body to go into a state of distress, which can, in turn, induce a seizure. Unfortunately, this is not the only way that seizures and sleep apnea interact.

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What Are Nocturnal Seizures

Any kind of seizure can be a nocturnal seizure, and they can happen to anyone who has epilepsy. Although, certain kinds of epilepsy are more prone to them: juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, awakening tonic-clonic , Benign Rolandic, electrical status epilepticus of sleep, Landau-Kleffner syndrome, and frontal lobe epilepsy .

Some people have seizures that happen both during the day and at night , yet up to 45% of people have seizures predominantly during sleep . If you only have nighttime seizures in your sleep, then you would have pure nocturnal epilepsy .

Although nocturnal seizures occur during sleep, some of their characteristics are similar to daytime seizures. During a nocturnal seizure, you may:

  • cry out or make unusual noises, especially before muscles tense
  • suddenly appear very rigid
  • wake up for no clear reason .

Etiologies And Risk Factors

Epilepsy and sleep apnea syndrome have a reciprocal influence on one another that may exacerbate the processes of both conditions:

  • The apneic episodes lead to hypoxemia and to chronic sleep deprivation, because multiple arousals during the apneic episodes cause sleep fragmentation. Sleep deprivation and hypoxia can decrease the seizure threshold in epilepsy patients. In many epilepsy patients without sleep apnea, seizures may occur on arousal.
  • Antiepileptic drugs exacerbate sleep apnea by inhibiting respiratory drive centers and relaxing upper respiratory muscle tone.138,145

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Epileptic Seizures While Sleeping

Epileptic seizures can occur during any time of day or night. Around 20% of people with epilepsy only have seizures during sleep, while 40% only have seizures while awake and 35% have seizures both while awake and asleep.

One hypothesis about the connection between sleep and seizure activity involves the ways in which electrical activity in different areas of the brain tend to synchronize during NREM sleep. Excessive or hyper synchronization may lead to seizures. Another hypothesis relates to physiological changes associated with circadian rhythms and melatonin production.

Several common epilepsy syndromes involve seizures that occur during sleep.

Other epilepsies that occur primarily during sleep include autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and epilepsy with continuous spike-wave in sleep .

Dog Seizures While Sleeping: What To Do

Night Seizures

The first thing to know is that even though seizures can look very violent, they aren’t painful for your dog. If your dog has one seizure lasting less than 3-4 minutes, you should contact your vet and set up an appointment so that they can evaluate your dog’s health, and try to determine the cause of the seizure.If your dog has multiple seizures within a short period , you should get in contact with your veterinarian and seek immediate treatment. Seizures lasting more than 5 mins are severe, and you should seek immediate veterinary treatment. You should also try to cool your pup down with a damp towel on their chest, neck, and stomach to avoid hyperthermia .Another thing you can do is to record the seizure with your phone or camera this will give your vet the best chance for an accurate diagnosis. Make sure you take note of the duration of the seizure. After they wake up, be gentle, and reassure your dog, they are probably bewildered and disoriented, the best thing you can do is comfort them.

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How To Treat Nocturnal Seizures

Seizures are generally treated using prescription anticonvulsant medication. These are a diverse group of antiepileptic/anti-seizure drugs that work by suppressing the excessive rapid firing of neurons during seizures. Anticonvulsants also help to prevent the spread of a seizure within the brain. These medications often come with a whole bunch of side effects such as fatigue, nausea, and weight gain. But their use has been proven to reduce the chances of death and devastating neurological complications that seizure often inflict.

Commonly used anticonvulsant medication used for nocturnal seizures include: Phenytoin, Phenobarbital, Carbamazepine, Ethosuximide, Valproate, Gabapentin, Felbamate, Lamotrigine, Vigabatrin, Topiramate, Levetiracetam, Tiagabine, Oxcarbazepine and Zonisamide.

Nocturnal seizures, in particular, have a close relationship to our sleep cycle. This means that proper sleep habits can be an effective option for those suffering from this type of seizure. However, medication is still considered first line treatment therapy, but due to their side effects, they may disturb sleep to some degree. Your doctor will try to find the most beneficial medication that causes minimal side effect and doesnt prevent excessive sleep disturbance but also stress the importance of good sleep practices as effective treatment for nocturnal seizures.

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What Do You Do If Someone Has A Seizure In Their Sleep

First Aid

  • Keep other people out of the way.
  • Clear hard or sharp objects away from the person.
  • Dont try to hold them down or stop the movements.
  • Place them on their side, to help keep their airway clear.
  • Look at your watch at the start of the seizure, to time its length.
  • Dont put anything in their mouth.
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    Severe Sleep Apnea And Epileptic Seizures

    I am a 42 yr old female who has been diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. I do not snore, am not overweight, & I do not have high blood pressure but I do have a narrow throat. I do not suffer from daytime drowsiness, I feel like I get a good night sleep & I exercise regularly. I will not use a CPAP so I am in the process of being fitted for a dental appliance, although I’m not sure if I will be able to sleep with one. The reason I found out that I have severe sleep apnea is because a few months ago I had an apparent seizure while sleeping & after having every test imaginable & all coming back normal, my doctor suggested a sleep study just to rule it out. He was as surprised as me with the results. No one can say for certain if the apnea caused the seizure but I always wonder if it did. I haven’t had one since. I feel fine during the day but I have constant dreams during the night & remember them vividly all day. Could this be because of my sleep apnea & can I treat it on my own? I also suffer from a little anxiety, I think just because I worry about having another seizure.

    Epilepsy And The Brain

    Nocturnal seizures: Everything you need to know

    The brain consists of nerve cells that communicate through small electrical impulses. These impulses travel throughout the body using chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. Normally, the brains electrical activity is relatively orderly.

    In people diagnosed with epilepsy, the brains electrical activity and connections become abnormal, with sudden bursts of electrical impulses that affect a persons thoughts, feelings, and actions. There are many types of epilepsy and epilepsy syndromes.

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    Search Strategy And Review Criteria

    We searched PubMed up to April 2017, using the following terms: epilepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, SUDEP, sudden cardiac death, CPAP, and cardiac arrhythmia, For studies investigating the effect of AEDs on weight, only those with a minimum treatment duration of 3 months were considered. Only articles published in English were reviewed.

    How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Your Body

    Its possible to have sleep apnea and not actually know it. This is because the warning signs might not seem like serious things to you, and you may not realize there is a deeper underlying problem to deal with. If you find yourself waking up frequently during the night, if your partner hears you gasp for breath at while sleeping, or if you are constantly tired even after a long night of rest then its possible you have this condition. Its best not to jump to conclusions because these can also be signs of other sleep disorders or medical issues that are completely separate.

    The problem with sleep apnea is that it cuts off the flow of oxygen to your body. When you suffer from this condition, your breathing gets constrained or blocked, causing you to have trouble breathing while you sleep. Sometimes this leads to unusually long periods between breaths, which reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood. Results like these trigger your body to respond by waking you up to re-adjust your position or simply to breathe properly again.

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    Alcohol And Drug Abuse

    When using substances of abuse like these, it creates a chemical shift within the brain to the point that if a person were to suddenly stop, I can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms or even seizure development. This is why people who are detoxifying from severe alcohol abuse are encouraged to do so in a clinic or detox facility so they are constantly under supervision

    Natural Remedies For Dog Seizures When Sleeping

    EPILEPSY CONTROL – Seizures and Sleep pt.1

    If you are looking for a natural remedy for dog seizures when sleeping, CBD is worth discussing with your vet. One natural CBD drug is FDA approved for use in humans with treatment-resistant epilepsy. Recent research has also shown that CBD can reduce the frequency of seizures in people with Dravets syndrome.

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    Nighttime Urination And Sleep Apnea

    Nocturia is so prevalent in sleep apnea patients it has become a screening tool as significant as snoring. A research study showed that over 84% of patients with sleep apnea reported frequent nighttime urination while 82% acknowledged snoring.

    How many bathroom trips do you make during the night? Its considered normal for one to be awakened once or twice during the night to urinate, but many patients with untreated sleep apnea report as many as 6 or more nightly trips. Often, people assume this disruption of sleep and having a small bladder causes treks to the bathroom.

    Sleep researchers know that nocturia is a sign of sleep apnea, says Mary Umlauf, Ph.D., associate professor of nursing at UAB and lead investigator of the research study. However, because the underlying mechanisms linking sleep apnea and nocturia had not been studied before, people with nocturia were more likely to report the problem to their gynecologist or urologist, not a sleep clinician. Doctors most often attribute nocturia to aging in women or to prostate problems in men.

    The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Contact your physician or health care provider when you have health related questions. Never disregard or delay medical advice because of information you have obtained on this site.

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    Tips For Better Sleep

    Losing sleep can affect the mood and quality of life for people with epilepsy. In fact, one of the most common complaints in people with epilepsy is excessive daytime sleepiness. Sleep issues in people with epilepsy are likely due to a combination of factors, including the effects of nocturnal seizures, the side effects of antiepileptic drugs, and the stress and anxiety that often go hand in hand with managing epilepsy and coping with the social stigma.

    People with epilepsy can benefit from working closely with their medical team and communicating about any sleep-related issues theyre experiencing. Here are several topics that may be helpful to discuss with a doctor:

    While working with the medical team to manage sleep issues, people with epilepsy can also benefit from improving their sleep hygiene. Good sleep hygiene promotes quality rest by focusing on habits that affect sleep. Here are some tips for improving sleep hygiene:

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    What Would You Like Our Readers To Know About Osa

    OSA occurs when breathing is interrupted during sleep. OSA is associated with stroke, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and sudden death. It can negatively impact school or work performance.

    Sleep disorders are highly common among people living with epilepsy and grossly underdiagnosed. We previously reported a prevalence of OSA in 40% of people living with epilepsy. This does not appear to differ by epilepsy type or degree of seizure control. With treatment for OSA, people often experience improvement in symptoms they previously attributed to seizures or medications.

    Sleep Apnea And Epilepsy

    A Great Way to Treating Nocturnal Seizures and Identifying ...

    The stress that sleep apnea causes to your body during the night can induce seizures. For those with epilepsy, sleep apnea has been known to create a higher likelihood of night seizures. When your breathing gets cut off, it can cause your body to go into a state of distress, which can, in turn, induce a seizure.

    Unfortunately, this is not the only way that seizures and sleep apnea interact. Because you will not be getting restful sleep when you have sleep apnea, you are more likely to also have more frequent seizures during the day if you have both of these conditions. Being deprived of proper rest makes the seizure threshold smaller, causing you to be triggered more easily by situations that may not otherwise have bothered you when you were well rested.

    Finally, sleep apnea can also affect the medications you are allowed to take for your epilepsy. Some of the main treatment medications, antiepileptic drugs , are known to cause sleep apnea to worsen. These medications can inhibit your respiratory system and relax some of the muscles involved in breathing. Under normal circumstances, this does not create problems. But, when you also suffer from sleep apnea this can be a very dangerous combination that makes the apnea many times worse, thus also worsening your epilepsy.

    Common treatments for sleep apnea include weight loss and nighttime breathing apparatuses, but there are more medical treatment options available, especially for those with more serious cases of the disorder.

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    The Important Link Between Sleep Apnea And Epilepsy

      Often, those who have one health issue, such as epilepsy, may have others that can exacerbate the first one. This can be especially true when it comes to epilepsy and sleep disorders. Issues that interfere with restful sleep and normal electrical brain activity can make epilepsy worse. Obstructive Sleep Apnea , which is the most common of the types of sleep apnea, has been associated with an increase in seizures in people who have epilepsy.

      So, what exactly is the link between seizures, epilepsy, and sleep apnea?

      Seizures While Sleeping With A Cpap Machine

      Ive been experiencing seizures while sleeping with a CPAC machine. Ive had MRI, EKG and Neck X-Ray due to looking at computer screen as much as 8 hrs a day. All test results are in my favor. I am 66 and a veteran. The doctor has prescribed 500 milligrams of Keppra in morning and 500 milligrams in evening. Does this sound familiar to anyone else. I have a scheduled appointment with a neurologist March 10th does anyone know of any questions I should be sure to ask him? Has anyone experienced these symptoms also while trying to adjust your body to the CPAC machine with sleep apnea. Can anyone help me?

      Hello and welcome to Connect,

      While I do not have any experience with seizures or the meds that you have mentioned, we do have a number of members with seizure disorders. I’d like to invite to this discussion.

      On Connect, we also have a discussion on how to effectively use an appointment with a new specialist. You might find some of these suggestions helpful before you see the new neurologist on March 10. Here is the link to that discussion,

      Hello, I too have seizures and am on a CPAP. To be clear my seizures are not caused by CPAP. I have been on Keppra while having seizures on a CPAP too. I have been diagnosed with tonic clonic, complex partial seizures and sleep apnea. So far I have only had complex partial seizures while on CPAP. Yes computer screen 8+ hours a day. I’m 65 years old and thank you for your service.

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