Seizures are typically triggered by electrical activity in the brain which results to changes in the consciousness and movement. The symptoms of seizures tend to vary from one individual to another where some have a staring spell while others have twitching limbs. Take note that there are various types of seizures. Some individuals can end up with episodes when they are asleep that can be alarming at first. A seizure that occurs is usually dependent on the cycle of sleep that the individual is in.
When an individual experiences a seizure for the first time while sleeping, it can be quite an alarming scene. It is best to seek immediate medical care so that the condition can be properly assessed by the doctor in order to determine the exact cause of the seizure.
Non-rapid eye movement
One of the major states of sleep is non-rapid eye movement (NREM). During this state of sleep, there is minimal body movement and there is regular breathing. Those who have seizures during non-rapid eye movement sleep can have generalized seizures. When it comes to generalized seizures, they usually last between 1-2 minutes and the electrical activity of the seizures occurs on both hemispheres of the brain.
Rapid eye movement
The other major state of sleep is rapid eye movement (REM). During rapid eye movement sleep, there is irregular breathing along with twitching in the face, legs and arms. Individuals who have seizures during rapid eye movement sleep have partial seizures which occur at approximately 90 seconds. Unlike with generalized seizures, the electrical activity of a partial seizure occurs only on one hemisphere of the brain.
Other possible conditions
There are also other sleep-related conditions that are often confused with sleep seizures. It is important to note that these conditions include sleep terrors, sleep walking, bed-wetting, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and narcolepsy. The doctor will utilize an EEG to determine if the epileptic activity is the cause.
Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) are the commonly prescribed treatment for sleep seizures. The anti-epileptic drugs work by controlling the electrical excitability in the brain which instigates the seizures. Nevertheless, individuals should take the medications on a daily basis since a missed dose can trigger a seizure. When in doubt, the individual should consult a doctor for proper dosage as well as instructions for taking the medications.
The disrupted sleep patterns such as sleep deprivation and changes in sleep can occur in sleep seizures. It is recommended that the individual will have regular hours of sleep and waking. Nevertheless, the individual must not strive for extra sleep since excess sleep can also trigger a seizure in some individuals.