Nonepileptic Paroxysmal Events Occurring During Sleep and Sleep Disorders

  • Aatif M. Husain
Reference work entry


Nonepileptic paroxysmal events that occur during sleep can often be confused with epileptic seizures by both patients and physicians. Moreover, some sleep disorders can have symptoms during wakefulness that mimic epileptic seizures. Without correct recognition, patients may be subjected to unnecessary and potentially harmful therapy. This chapter discusses the various sleep disorders that produce paroxysmal events during sleep and wakefulness. Epileptic seizures and syndromes that manifest with predominantly nocturnal seizures will be discussed elsewhere.

There are two main types of sleep, rapid eye movement (REM, R) and non-REM (NREM, N) sleep. NREM sleep is further divided into stages 1, 2, and 3 (N1, N2, N3). Stage N1 consists mainly of transition from wake to sleep, whereas stage N3, also called slow wave sleep, is deep sleep. Thus, sleep consists of four stages: stage N1, stage N2, stage N3, and stage R. These stages occur at regular, cyclic intervals of 90–120 min...


Sleep Disorder Periodic Limb Movement Nucleus Magnocellularis Sleep Terror Muscle Atonia 
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List of Abbreviations


cerebrospinal fluid








human leukocyte antigen


laterodorsal tegmental


multiple sleep latency test


multiple wakefulness test




obstructive sleep apnea


pedunculopontine tegmental




REM sleep behavior disorder


rapid eye movement

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aatif M. Husain
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medicine (Neurology)Duke University Medical Center; and Neurodiagnostic Center, Veterans Affairs Medical CenterDurhamUSA

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