Epilepsy Foundation

Hi everyone, hope you are well. I have a pattern where my seizures occur when I am in the process of falling asleep. Does this happen to anyone else? I tried to look up why but I didn't find much info. I realize it must have something to do with theta, alpha, and beta waves and the transitions between them. If anyone has any info about this it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. :)

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Yes, it has happened to me numerous of times - recorded on EEG to VEEG; for decades Neurologists have been trying to get this under some sort of control, for some odd reason, they are able to control the day time pretty much, but come the nocturnal (night) during the sleep - is a different story.

While Lamictal did work wonderfully with Zonegran, until I developed that Lammy rask and had to take that 3 strikes and you're out on the Lammy because of the life threatening situation; I still bear scars from it.

I have been on Myriads of AEDS - while Dilantin (Phenytoin) worked very well and on and off they would throw in Klonopin (Clonazepam) at bedtime (HS) - it worked, unfortunately, after decades of being on Dilantin / Pheyntoin, it had to be put on the allergy list as with others - but it can be taken out to be used temporarily in critical emergencies only; for it had wrecked havoc on my dental which is is known for as a side effect.

There are many EFA eCommunities members who suffers from nocturnal / night time seizures, which it knows no age boundaries and it effects everyone - from babies to elderly. It does not know race, gender or nationality. While Neuroscience is able to pinpoint most of the causes and reasons for such events others remains left out there due to various reasons, but there are researches and studies in this area with hopes to bring more people who suffer from this under control.
Thanks for the advice and information Sharon. I realize that it does affect many people and that I am not the only one. At least I have an aura that warns me of when a seizure is coming. I hope that more research is done to figure out how to stop these seizures from occurring.
I'm going to very briefly cover the going theory on this. You'll have to look it up if you want more details soon, as I'm sick - unrelated to E.
An epileptic seizure is more than just a lot of electrical activity that shouldn't be there. It's also neurons firing in sync in groups, when they shouldn't.
There are times that the brain does fire like that, and it's not abnormal, such as falling asleep, waking, changing sleep phases.
So, if the brain's firing syncs up normally, and the person is already more likely to have seizures, which is an abnormal syncing, then the chances are much higher in those normally syncing moments.
ive had my problems with it,although it stopped probly ten years back when i changed my eating habits.its like i stopped all that junkfood and grewup and started eating better meals.they said i had Obstructive Sleep Apnia and i was having problems breathing while i slept at night.if its happening to you though,my advice is to try and find yourself an epilepsy monitoring unit where the hospital can monitor all them seizures while your sleeping.may sound a bit boring,but if your having seizures in the daytime while your not sleeping also,it can give you a ton of awnsers you never even knew about!once upon a time i had seizures daily,seems the more insight into my condition i knew about-the more i could change and the slower them seizures became.almost to a halt!five years of freedom acually,but why they came back to just a couple per year,i may never know?
for you,you look up different types of sleep apnea and maybe youll see what im talking about.
this is just some insight into obstructive sleep apnea.i know theres more,but i think you may be able to look it up:
Obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. Several types of sleep apnea exist, but the most common type is obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when your throat muscles intermittently relax and block your airway during sleep. The most noticeable sign of obstructive sleep apnea is snoring, although not everyone who has obstructive sleep apnea snores.

Anyone can develop obstructive sleep apnea, although it most commonly affects older adults. It's also especially common in people who are overweight. Obstructive sleep apnea treatment may involve using a device to keep your airway open or undergoing a procedure to remove tissue from your nose, mouth or throat
Thanks for the information Isky. What you're telling me definitely makes sense. I hope you feel better. :)

Isky said:
I'm going to very briefly cover the going theory on this. You'll have to look it up if you want more details soon, as I'm sick - unrelated to E.
An epileptic seizure is more than just a lot of electrical activity that shouldn't be there. It's also neurons firing in sync in groups, when they shouldn't.
There are times that the brain does fire like that, and it's not abnormal, such as falling asleep, waking, changing sleep phases.
So, if the brain's firing syncs up normally, and the person is already more likely to have seizures, which is an abnormal syncing, then the chances are much higher in those normally syncing moments.
Hi Tim, thanks for your response. I am looking at being more healthy such as taking B vitamins and flaxseed. I'm pretty sure I don't have sleep apnea as my seizures happen right when I am falling asleep. As for the sleep study I have considered it. However, right now I am just trying to stabilize on Lamictal so I can't do the study anyways.

tim said:
ive had my problems with it,although it stopped probly ten years back when i changed my eating habits.its like i stopped all that junkfood and grewup and started eating better meals.they said i had Obstructive Sleep Apnia and i was having problems breathing while i slept at night.if its happening to you though,my advice is to try and find yourself an epilepsy monitoring unit where the hospital can monitor all them seizures while your sleeping.may sound a bit boring,but if your having seizures in the daytime while your not sleeping also,it can give you a ton of awnsers you never even knew about!once upon a time i had seizures daily,seems the more insight into my condition i knew about-the more i could change and the slower them seizures became.almost to a halt!five years of freedom acually,but why they came back to just a couple per year,i may never know?
for you,you look up different types of sleep apnea and maybe youll see what im talking about.
this is just some insight into obstructive sleep apnea.i know theres more,but i think you may be able to look it up:
Obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. Several types of sleep apnea exist, but the most common type is obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when your throat muscles intermittently relax and block your airway during sleep. The most noticeable sign of obstructive sleep apnea is snoring, although not everyone who has obstructive sleep apnea snores.

Anyone can develop obstructive sleep apnea, although it most commonly affects older adults. It's also especially common in people who are overweight. Obstructive sleep apnea treatment may involve using a device to keep your airway open or undergoing a procedure to remove tissue from your nose, mouth or throat
I was not aware of having seizures when I fell asleep until I had the internal grids put on my brain. They found that I was having seizures every 10 minutes after falling asleep. I was not even aware of these until they told me about it. It just makes me wonder if that is the cause of so much damage to the brain when they went in.
Wow, I have wondered if I have seizures after I am asleep. Sometimes I think I do because I wake up with minor bruises or weird body aches. Sorry to hear about that.

Lrjg said:
I was not aware of having seizures when I fell asleep until I had the internal grids put on my brain. They found that I was having seizures every 10 minutes after falling asleep. I was not even aware of these until they told me about it. It just makes me wonder if that is the cause of so much damage to the brain when they went in.
I'm .. well, better. Not all better, but human again.
I'm trying to find the info I read that made me think about the sleep brain rhythms, and I can't. Maybe I saw it on tv. I get easily hooked on medical programs.. not like House, though I love it, too, but stuff about real medicine. I've seen some truly ucky surgeries on tv, including one for a right temporal lobe resection for epilepsy. :D Totally fascinating.

So, I did some other research, while laying here wanting my face to stop hurting, and this is what I found:
A podcast -- There's an article, but it's an intro. You have to download and listen to the podcast. It's amazing!
Here's a link from the NIH about understanding sleep. I probably should have put it first. It's a great primer on how sleep works, and possibly why we need it.
What I was looking for, and found, in this article was this: during stage 2, our brains slow, and we have sleep spindles. These are bursts above the slow waves of sleep. This is where I tend to have seizures.. as I transition between 1 and 2. Maybe these bursts are so close to seizures that my brain follows them into the uncontrolled bursting that marks seizures?
I also found something I didn't know that I will quote here:
"If our REM sleep is disrupted one night, our bodies don't follow the normal sleep cycle progression the next time we doze off. Instead, we often slip directly into REM sleep and go through extended periods of REM until we "catch up" on this stage of sleep."
This might explain why I so easily get to REM, and often skip stages 3 and 4. I have an REM sleep problem, and tend to wake directly from it, sometimes not ending it until after I'm technically awake. If I can get one really good night's sleep, it all gets more normal until I get interrupted again. This creates a form of sleep deprivation. Even if we sleep, when we don't get enough of each stage, it still creates a deprivation, and we all know (or should know) that deprivation brings on more seizures.
There is a section about dreaming, about how we don't know why we sleep. My dad offered up a theory once that I think is quite sound. He thinks we dream to sort out the things we have experienced during the day, and file them into our long term memory. People who don't dream well DO tend to have long term memory storage problems. Also, after I've dreamt, even if it's a nightmare, somehow things I did the day before click in better, make more sense to me, and are more easily applied in the future. We may be wrong, but it sounds good to me, and makes a lot more sense than Freud's constant neurosis theories. :P

So, next article, since I said a lot about that one. While, in general, I think a lot of this particular site is stupid and lame, this one article is worth it. Don't read the rest if you read the one before, but check out the chart. It deals with frequencies of brain waves during sleep.
The k-complexes after sleep spindles are somewhat similar to a lot of epileptic seizures. It wouldn't be a stretch to think if your brain is already malfunctioning from epilepsy, it could continue those and turn them into seizures. I'm not a neurologist, so don't think I'm right - just consider it an option. :P

I can't find it now, but I KNOW I read an article about most seizures from nocturnal E occurring in transitions between sleep stages, and most often just after falling asleep, and just before waking. Maybe I read it in Epilepsia. It's a really expensive magazine for epileptologists. Because of the university I graduated from, I have an online library that includes this magazine. Everything I can get to is a year old or older, because the publisher has a restriction, and of course it's almost always in medical jargon, but it has good info. My search for it sucks, and I'm not up to paging through contents of each issue until I find the article. heh. If I find it somewhere else, I'll post it.

Okay, last but not least, pictures! I love visual aids. :D
EEG During Generalized Seizure
EEG During Sleep Stages
Now, obviously, I have an untrained eye.. but stage 4 looks SO much like the seizure above. Not perfectly, and these are very stripped down EEGs, but.. wow. Those pictures alone make me wonder how people with epilepsy could possibly NOT be affected by sleep if our brains are already prone to the patterns seen in the first picture.
So I might possibly having more seizures recently due to my equally recent change in sleep pattern? Actually, those are only seizures I have during the day. I could be having partial ones when I sleep then. My neuro wants me to probably use a take home EEG system in a week or so.
Thank you very much for the useful information. I will definitely read up on the links you posted! Thanks again!

Isky said:
I'm .. well, better. Not all better, but human again.
I'm trying to find the info I read that made me think about the sleep brain rhythms, and I can't. Maybe I saw it on tv. I get easily hooked on medical programs.. not like House, though I love it, too, but stuff about real medicine. I've seen some truly ucky surgeries on tv, including one for a right temporal lobe resection for epilepsy. :D Totally fascinating.

So, I did some other research, while laying here wanting my face to stop hurting, and this is what I found:
A podcast -- There's an article, but it's an intro. You have to download and listen to the podcast. It's amazing!
Here's a link from the NIH about understanding sleep. I probably should have put it first. It's a great primer on how sleep works, and possibly why we need it.
What I was looking for, and found, in this article was this: during stage 2, our brains slow, and we have sleep spindles. These are bursts above the slow waves of sleep. This is where I tend to have seizures.. as I transition between 1 and 2. Maybe these bursts are so close to seizures that my brain follows them into the uncontrolled bursting that marks seizures?
I also found something I didn't know that I will quote here:
"If our REM sleep is disrupted one night, our bodies don't follow the normal sleep cycle progression the next time we doze off. Instead, we often slip directly into REM sleep and go through extended periods of REM until we "catch up" on this stage of sleep."
This might explain why I so easily get to REM, and often skip stages 3 and 4. I have an REM sleep problem, and tend to wake directly from it, sometimes not ending it until after I'm technically awake. If I can get one really good night's sleep, it all gets more normal until I get interrupted again. This creates a form of sleep deprivation. Even if we sleep, when we don't get enough of each stage, it still creates a deprivation, and we all know (or should know) that deprivation brings on more seizures.
There is a section about dreaming, about how we don't know why we sleep. My dad offered up a theory once that I think is quite sound. He thinks we dream to sort out the things we have experienced during the day, and file them into our long term memory. People who don't dream well DO tend to have long term memory storage problems. Also, after I've dreamt, even if it's a nightmare, somehow things I did the day before click in better, make more sense to me, and are more easily applied in the future. We may be wrong, but it sounds good to me, and makes a lot more sense than Freud's constant neurosis theories. :P

So, next article, since I said a lot about that one. While, in general, I think a lot of this particular site is stupid and lame, this one article is worth it. Don't read the rest if you read the one before, but check out the chart. It deals with frequencies of brain waves during sleep.
The k-complexes after sleep spindles are somewhat similar to a lot of epileptic seizures. It wouldn't be a stretch to think if your brain is already malfunctioning from epilepsy, it could continue those and turn them into seizures. I'm not a neurologist, so don't think I'm right - just consider it an option. :P

I can't find it now, but I KNOW I read an article about most seizures from nocturnal E occurring in transitions between sleep stages, and most often just after falling asleep, and just before waking. Maybe I read it in Epilepsia. It's a really expensive magazine for epileptologists. Because of the university I graduated from, I have an online library that includes this magazine. Everything I can get to is a year old or older, because the publisher has a restriction, and of course it's almost always in medical jargon, but it has good info. My search for it sucks, and I'm not up to paging through contents of each issue until I find the article. heh. If I find it somewhere else, I'll post it.

Okay, last but not least, pictures! I love visual aids. :D
EEG During Generalized Seizure
EEG During Sleep Stages
Now, obviously, I have an untrained eye.. but stage 4 looks SO much like the seizure above. Not perfectly, and these are very stripped down EEGs, but.. wow. Those pictures alone make me wonder how people with epilepsy could possibly NOT be affected by sleep if our brains are already prone to the patterns seen in the first picture.
Oh, a take home EEG system? I haven't heard of that. I am still contemplating doing a seizure study.

LaurensStory said:
So I might possibly having more seizures recently due to my equally recent change in sleep pattern? Actually, those are only seizures I have during the day. I could be having partial ones when I sleep then. My neuro wants me to probably use a take home EEG system in a week or so.

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