Epilepsy In Children Affects Sleep Patterns In Family, Study Says

Epilepsy in children can cause disrupted sleep patterns for both the children and their parents, who monitor their condition, according to a new study published recently in Epilepsia.

The study involved researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital for Children in Boston, who studied the sleeping arrangements of 105 families whose children have the neurological seizure disorder, as well as those of 79 families whose children did not have the disorder.

According to Counsel & Heal, Dr. Elizabeth Thiele, the lead author of the study, stated that:

“Our study determined that households with a child with epilepsy had higher rates of parent-child room sharing and co-sleeping compared to controls.”

USNews reports that almost 64% of parents surveyed, who co-slept with their epileptic children, did not do so before the child was diagnosed with epilepsy. 62% of parents who co-slept also reported a reduced quality of sleep, with 42% saying they rarely or never felt rested.

This sleep deprivation can also affect the child, and sleep-deprivation has been known to bring on seizures. Thiel concluded that:

“Our study demonstrates the profound impact of epilepsy on child and parent sleep patterns. The findings highlight the need for improved therapies for epilepsy and innovative nocturnal seizure monitoring technologies.”

Counsel & Heal also stated that

“Over 1% of children in the U.S. are diagnosed with epilepsy—a chronic, neurological disease characterized by recurring seizures.”

They explain that in the past, studies have been done, which show that sleep patterns affect the child’s seizures, and that seizure profiles also affect sleep. Now, they are able to show that co-sleeping of parents and their epileptic children also has an effect on sleep, and therefore on the child’s seizures as well.

Check out more about pediatric epilepsy here: