Epilepsy is associated with a high prevalence of sleep disturbance. However, population-based studies on the burden of sleep disturbance in people with epilepsy are limited. This study assessed sleep duration and sleep quality by epilepsy status in the general U.S. adult population aged ≥ 18 years.
We pooled data of cross-sectional National Health Interview Surveys in 2013, 2015, and 2017 to compare the prevalence of sleep duration and quality among those without epilepsy (N = 93,126) with those with any epilepsy (a history of physician-diagnosed epilepsy) (N = 1774), those with active epilepsy (those with a history of physician-diagnosed epilepsy who were currently taking medication to control it, had one or more seizures in the past year, or both) (N = 1101), and those with inactive epilepsy (those with a history of physician-diagnosed epilepsy who were neither taking medication for epilepsy nor had had a seizure in the past year) (N = 673). We also compared these measures between those with active and those with inactive epilepsy. The prevalences were adjusted for sociodemographics, behaviors, and health covariates, with multivariable logistic regression. We used Z-tests to compare prevalences of sleep duration and quality at the statistical significance level of 0.05.
Adults with any epilepsy reported significantly higher adjusted prevalences of short sleep duration (9 h per day) (6.7% vs. 3.7%) but a lower prevalence of healthy sleep duration (7-9 h per day) (57.4% vs.64.6%) than those without epilepsy. In the past week, adults with any epilepsy reported significantly higher adjusted prevalences than adults without epilepsy of having trouble falling asleep (25.0% vs. 20.3%), staying asleep (34.4% vs. 26.3%), nonrestorative sleep (adults did not wake up feeling well rested) (≥3days) (50.3% vs. 44.3%), and taking medication to help themselves fall asleep or stay asleep (≥1 times) (20.9% vs. 13.5%). However, adults with active epilepsy did not differ from adults with inactive epilepsy with respect to these sleep duration and quality measures.
Adults with epilepsy reported more short or long sleep duration and worse sleep quality than those without epilepsy. Neither seizure occurrence nor antiepileptic drug use accounted for these differences in sleep duration and quality. Careful screening for sleep complaints as well as identifying and intervening on the modifiable risk factors associated with sleep disturbances among people with epilepsy could improve epilepsy outcomes and quality of life.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.