Sleep and Epilepsy
Did you know that doctors and scientists have long observed a relationship between sleep and epileptic seizures? In fact, Aristotle observed this connection in antiquity, with doctors in the late 19th century recognizing that most nocturnal seizures occur close to when a person falls asleep and when they are waking up.
Sleep is vital for both physical and mental health. However, sleep difficulties are very common for people with epilepsy, and I am no different. When I was first suffering with epilepsy, I also started suffering with very bad insomnia, or the difficulty in falling and staying asleep. In people living with epilepsy, insomnia can be caused by several factors including seizures, medications, anxiety, and depression. For me, it was caused by disturbances in my sleep schedule and poor mental health.
Here are a few things you can do if you’re experiencing insomnia that may help:
- Schedule your sleep: Having a consistent sleep schedule helps to ensure that you get the full amount of sleep you need. Make sleep a priority and try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends.
- Make a nightly routine: Creating a nightly routine can help your body wind down before bed, setting you up to fall asleep faster. Try setting an alarm for 30-60 minutes before bed to remind you to turn off electronics, dim lights, and focus on relaxing.
- Learn relaxation technique: If you have trouble falling asleep, relaxation techniques can help you quiet your mind and calm your body. If you’re wondering what kinds of relaxation techniques to try, don’t worry! I have a full blog coming on these!
- Improve daytime habits: Try getting a healthy amount of physical activity and natural light during the day, and avoid smoking, alcohol, and caffeine, especially close to bedtime.
I hope my tips help you!