Do people with epilepsy need more sleep?

Sleep is an uneventful action in most cases. Some people can fall asleep in almost a few minutes, while others spin in bed for up to an hour before they are overwhelmed by the dream. This process takes 5-20 minutes, but not everyone does it the same way. For some, falling asleep is a gradual process, while others fluctuate between the phases of sleep and wakefulness before swinging.
It is impossible to force sleep, and it is much harder for us to fall asleep if we consciously force our brains to do so.

Epilepsy and sleep

Good sleep at night is important for all people, but even more important if you have epilepsy. There is a strong link between sleep and epilepsy:
      • Seizures may prevent you from getting the sleep you need
       • Lack of sleep can cause more seizures:
          - temporal lobe epilepsy occurs during sleep.
          - juvenile myoclonic epilepsy occurs during waking from sleep.
       • Seizures affect the amount and quality of sleep.

Seizures and medications can also interfere with sleep at night

This matter is further complicated because drugs that help with seizures are very tiring and can even change the quality of sleep. Some medications for epilepsy, such as clonazepam, phenobarbital, and valproate, may have a sedative effect that may make you more tired than usual. Talk to your doctor if you think your medication is causing fatigue.

Strategies to improve sleep quality

Designing your treatment, preventing known seizures, and working closely with your doctor is crucial to your health. Follow these tips:

• Sleep long enough. Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a day, and children 5-10 years old need 10-11 hours of sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, your brain will become more irritated, and an inflamed brain can cause cramps.

• Deal with other sleep problems. If the brain is irritated by sleep disorders all night, it can cause more seizures. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms: feeling too tired during the day, snoring, or waking up at night often indicates a sleep disorder. If you have a sleep disorder, treating and controlling insomnia will help calm your brain and also improve the treatment of epilepsy.

• Teach your brain. Developing good sleep habits and creating a sleep-promoting environment is key to quality rest. Keep the bedroom dark and quiet. Turn off all electronic devices (TV, mobile phone, computer). They all emit light, which reduces melatonin, a hormone produced by the brain that helps you sleep. A simple nightly ritual (a bath, reading, or a few minutes of deep breathing) can help your body and mind remember when to sleep.

Sleep is the key to vivid memory and learning

Although we are not conscious during sleep, serious processes take place in the brain: when new memories are fixed in our brain, an organic connection between our old and new memories is formed during the hours of rest. Previously, several studies have highlighted the importance of sleep in learning, which can be traced back to the brain's hippocampus. The more we sleep, the better our memory and ability to learn, and the easier it is for new information to stay in our brains.

However, a lack of rest has a very bad effect on the hippocampus, the brain area that creates and consolidates memories. It is a big fashion among college students ahead of the exam day to study all night and then fall into the morning exam tired. This is not effective in terms of learning, and it is very important to spend as much time as possible on sleep. Failing this, the ability to absorb new information can be reduced to as much as 40%, which is a nightmare before a university exam.

According to sleep researcher Dr. Matthew Walker, pre-sleep learning prepares our brains to accommodate and shape memories. And during sleep, a processing procedure takes place, and the information is integrated into the knowledge base of the human brain. However, we can only learn something perfectly if we repeat what we have learned after sleep.

So is it worth sleeping as much as possible?

Yes, because there is a lot of learning to memorize, you will need even more restful sleep. This can be achieved by working closely with your doctor.

With the right amount of restful sleep:

• We think more creatively, and our brains become problem solvers. - Sleep can be a surprisingly good stimulant for creativity, and it can inspire many musicians, actors, and artists to work. Our unconscious state of rest creates brain connections that we could not establish awake. According to researchers, in this pre-sleep state, the parts of the brain responsible for imagination and creativity spin to the top.

• We learn easier, and our memory also works better. - As we sleep, our brains consolidate the memories and information we acquire and then create associations between those and memories. If we get enough sleep, we can consolidate the important information that we need to recall later and have less chance of forgetting something about it.

• We get rid of harmful molecules in the brain. - The brain also cleans during sleep. A group of researchers from the University of Rochester 2013 focused on the brain function of mice: studies have shown that the brain of mice during sleep removes toxic molecules related to neurodegeneration from the body. The space between brain cells increases during sleep, allowing the brain to expel toxic molecules accumulated during wakefulness.

• We can play sports, move, or drive more skillfully. - The brain sucks information from short-term memory (the motor cortex) into long-term memory (the temporal lobe) during sleep. This process is especially useful for storing information about motor tasks and movements: whether we are talking about driving, playing tennis, or dancing.

Visit our award-winning Neeraj Epilepsy Clinic and together we will find a solution to your health problem. We are a group of the greatest Epilepsy Neurologists in India, and we have an incredible success rate of 85 percent in treating epileptic patients using combination medication. Neeraj Clinic has treated thousands of patients from all over the world. Request an appointment today!

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