Seizure likelihood varies with day-to-day variations in sleep duration in patients with refractory focal epilepsy: a longitudinal electroencephalography investigation

Katrina L. Dell, Daniel E. Payne, Vaclav Kremen, Matias I. Maturana, Vaclav Gerla, Petr Nejedly, Gregory A. Worrell, Lhotska Lenka, Filip Mivalt, Raymond C. Boston, Benjamin H. Brinkmann, Wendyl D'Souza, Anthony N. Burkitt, David B. Grayden, Levin Kuhlmann, Dean R. Freestone, Mark J. Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Background: While the effects of prolonged sleep deprivation (≥24 h) on seizure occurrence has been thoroughly explored, little is known about the effects of day-to-day variations in the duration and quality of sleep on seizure probability. A better understanding of the interaction between sleep and seizures may help to improve seizure management. Methods: To explore how sleep and epileptic seizures are associated, we analysed continuous intracranial electroencephalography (EEG) recordings collected from 10 patients with refractory focal epilepsy undergoing ordinary life activities between 2010 and 2012 from three clinical centres (Austin Health, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, and St Vincent's Hospital of the Melbourne University Epilepsy Group). A total of 4340 days of sleep-wake data were analysed (average 434 days per patient). EEG data were sleep scored using a semi-automated machine learning approach into wake, stages one, two, and three non-rapid eye movement sleep, and rapid eye movement sleep categories. Findings: Seizure probability changes with day-to-day variations in sleep duration. Logistic regression models revealed that an increase in sleep duration, by 1·66 ± 0·52 h, lowered the odds of seizure by 27% in the following 48 h. Following a seizure, patients slept for longer durations and if a seizure occurred during sleep, then sleep quality was also reduced with increased time spent aroused from sleep and reduced rapid eye movement sleep. Interpretation: Our results suggest that day-to-day deviations from regular sleep duration correlates with changes in seizure probability. Sleeping longer, by 1·66 ± 0·52 h, may offer protective effects for patients with refractory focal epilepsy, reducing seizure risk. Furthermore, the occurrence of a seizure may disrupt sleep patterns by elongating sleep and, if the seizure occurs during sleep, reducing its quality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100934
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • Convulsions
  • EEG
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy
  • Long-term
  • Non-rapid eye movement
  • Rapid eye movement
  • Seizures
  • Sleep
  • Sleep architecture
  • Sleep composition
  • Sleep duration
  • Sleep quality

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