Parents of Children With Epilepsy Have Suboptimal Sleep

Increased room-sharing, cosleeping linked to child sleep problems, impaired parental sleep quality

MONDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) -- Parents of children with epilepsy often share a room or cosleep with their child, with both parents and child having suboptimal sleep and greater fatigue, according to a study published online May 17 in Epilepsia.

Anna M. Larson, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues surveyed (via written questionnaires) parents of children aged 2 to 10 years in 105 households with epilepsy and 79 control households. The questionnaires covered seizure history, child and parent sleep, and household sleeping arrangements.

The researchers found that, in households with epilepsy, parents reported higher rates of sharing a room with their child and cosleeping. Children with epilepsy had more disturbed sleep, while parents of children with epilepsy reported greater sleep dysfunction and greater fatigue, all of which correlated with epilepsy severity. Room sharing and cosleeping correlated with child sleep problems, while nocturnal seizures correlated with parental sleep problems. Sixty-nine percent of parents of a child with epilepsy were concerned about night seizures, 44 percent rarely or never felt rested, and 62 percent reported that cosleeping lowered sleep quality and/or quantity.

"Pediatric epilepsy can significantly affect sleep patterns for both the affected child and his or her parents," Larson and colleagues conclude. "Parents frequently room share or cosleep with their child, adaptations which may have detrimental effects for many households."

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