Epilepsy has a complex relationship with sleep. Any kind of epilepsy (there are several forms) can occur during sleep, but nocturnal seizures open happen during sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation:
"For people with epilepsy, sleep problems are a double-edged sword; epilepsy disturbs sleep and sleep deprivation aggravates epilepsy. The drugs used to treat epilepsy may also disturb sleep. Because lack of sleep is a trigger for seizures, achieving healthy sleep on a nightly basis is essential for people with epilepsy."
Safety is critical even while one is asleep. The Epilepsy Foundation points out the following dangers:
- Dangerous objects near the bed can cause injury.
- Prolonged seizures that need medical attention may go unnoticed.
- Vomit or other fluids may go into the lungs instead of the stomach if the person is not rolled onto one side.
- A person who has a seizure face down in bed may suffocate.
It's possible, if rare, to suffer Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). Often, these people are found in bed and have shown no signs of having had a seizure except that they might be face down. This is of special concern to parents of epileptic children; though the condition is rare, it's not impossible.
Learn ways to lessen the risks associated with seizure activity during sleep as well as ways to prevent injury HERE.
The National Sleep Foundation also has an excellent page about sleep health and epilepsy HERE.