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Sleep and dreaming in children and adolescents with epilepsy

Schlaf und Träumen bei Kindern und Jugendlichen mit Epilepsie

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Abstract

Background

Sleep problems are frequent in children and adolescents with epilepsy. The consequences of these problems, such as sleep deprivation and fatigue, can trigger epileptic seizures.

Objective

The purpose of this review was to scrutinize the effects of sleep and sleep disorders such as insomnia and parasomnias on epilepsy in childhood and adolescence.

Methods

Current databases were scoured for possible combinations of sleep and epilepsy in childhood and adolescence.

Results

The 24 studies included in this review showed that the most common sleep problems are disordered breathing, nightly awakenings, and excessive daytime sleepiness. A higher rate of parasomnias, shorter sleep duration, reduced sleep efficiency, and sleep-related anxieties were found more often in epileptic children. Furthermore, sleep problems are associated with the level of seizure control. However, no studies have investigated either the dreams or the chronotype of children and adolescents with epilepsy. Most of the studies used questionnaires, whereas few studies used polysomnography or actigraphy. Sometimes parents’ reports were implemented. The age range of the children and adolescents was 1.5 to 18.0 years.

Conclusion

The results of the current review underline the fact that sleep problems are not uncommon in children and adolescents with epilepsy. In spite of this, there is more research needed to scrutinize the connection between sleep and epilepsy, for example to work out factors influencing the sleep of epileptic children and adolescents.

Zusammenfassung

Hintergrund

Schlafprobleme finden sich häufig bei Kindern und Jugendlichen mit Epilepsie. Die Auswirkungen dieser Schlafprobleme, wie Schlafdeprivation oder auch Müdigkeit, können zur Auslösung epileptischer Anfälle führen.

Ziel

Das Ziel dieser Übersichtsarbeit war zu untersuchen, auf welche Weise Schlaf und Schlafstörungen, wie Insomnie und Parasomnien, Epilepsie im Kindes- und Jugendalter beeinflussen können.

Methoden

Gängige Suchmaschinen wurden nach möglichen Kombinationen zu Schlaf und Epilepsie im Kindes- und Jugendalter durchsucht.

Ergebnisse

Die 24 in die vorliegende Übersicht einbezogenen Studien zeigen, dass die verbreitetsten Schlafprobleme Atemstörungen, nächtliches Erwachen und exzessive Tagesschläfrigkeit sind. Eine höhere Rate an Parasomnien, kürzere Schlafdauer, reduzierte Schlafeffizienz und schlafbezogene Ängste fanden sich ebenfalls häufiger bei epileptischen Kindern. Zudem hängen Schlafprobleme mit dem Grad der Anfallskontrolle zusammen. Jedoch fanden sich weder Studien zu Träumen noch zum Chronotyp bei Kindern und Jugendlichen mit Epilepsie. Die meisten in den Studien verwendeten Erhebungsinstrumente waren Fragebögen, wenige Studien inkludierten Polysomnographie oder Aktigraphie. Manchmal wurde auch auf eine Fremdbeurteilung durch die Eltern zurückgegriffen. Der Altersbereich der Kinder und Jugendlichen lag zwischen 1,5 und 18,0 Jahren.

Schlussfolgerungen

Es ist bestätigt, dass Schlafprobleme bei Kindern und Jugendlichen mit Epilepsie nicht ungewöhnlich sind. Trotzdem sollte in zukünftigen Studien der Zusammenhang von Schlaf und Epilepsie genauer untersucht werden, beispielsweise durch Ermittlung von Faktoren, die den Schlaf bei epileptischen Kindern und Jugendlichen beeinflussen.

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Correspondence to Angelika A. Schlarb.

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A.A. Schlarb, R. Christen, M. G. Claßen, and C. G. Bien declare that they have no competing interests.

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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Schlarb, A.A., Christen, R., Claßen, M. et al. Sleep and dreaming in children and adolescents with epilepsy. Somnologie 20, 242–250 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11818-016-0077-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11818-016-0077-1

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