Nocturnal Epilepsy – Nocturnal Frontal Lobe Epilepsy

Nocturnal epilepsy is a disorder in which the patient experiences symptoms of seizures at night, usually while sleeping. Several common forms of epilepsy, including frontal lobe epilepsy, can manifest in a nocturnal state. Nocturnal Frontal Lobe Epilepsy is a distinct paroxysmal sleep-related disorder covering a spectrum of presentations of presumed frontal lobe origin.

These seizures are usually tonic-clonic seizures, where the patient may fall into a deep sleep or lose consciousness immediately after their seizure.


  • The seizures might occur just after a person has fallen asleep, just before waking, during daytime sleep, or while in a state of drowsiness.
  • People who experience nocturnal seizures may find it difficult to wake up or to stay awake.
  • After getting up from the sleep they may arise with a headache, have temper tantrums, or other destructive behavior throughout the day.
  • There may be some unusual differences such as having wet the bed, having bit the tongue, a bone or joint injury or light-headedness.


Electroencephalogram test or scalp EEG is the premiere test given in order to diagnose epilepsy. Other techniques used to differential diagnose nocturnal epilepsy include MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) of the brain, PET (Positron Emission Tomography), SPECT (Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography) and MRS (Magnetic resonance spectroscopy).


Anticonvulsant therapy should be initiated once the diagnosis of epilepsy is established. Many nocturnal episodes of epilepsies are treated well carbamazepine.

Patients with medically intractable nocturnal epilepsy are considered for resective epilepsy surgery. In this surgery, the surgeon removes the area of the brain that causes the patient’s seizures. Here it is the temporal lobectomy, in which part of the temporal lobe of the brain is removed.

If resective surgery is not possible, other surgical options include corpus callosotomy, multiple subpial transections, or the vagal nerve stimulator.

Find out more about The Epilepsy and Sleep Relation. Also, find out about Seizures During Sleep in Epileptics.

1 response to Nocturnal Epilepsy – Nocturnal Frontal Lobe Epilepsy

  1. Hi

    My daughter was fourteen when she was diagnosed with partial complex left temporal lobe epilepsy. She has been on various epilepsy medication and is currently on Keppra, Tegretol & Topamax. She started having seizures both day and night, petit mal and grand mal. The day seizures tapered off and she would only have them at night. During a petit mal seizure her right hand would stiffen, she would make a choking noise, and she would drool. She never wet the bed or was incontinent. During a grand mal, her entire body would convulse etc. During both types of seizures she would be asleep. However in the last four months, her seizures have changed. She is now semi conscious, can hear me when I talk to her but cannot respond and most of her seizures the past four months, start off with her laughing or crying hysterically and all happen at night.

    How could she be diagnosed with left temporal lobe, when her symptoms indicate front temporal lobe, and how is it that seizures can change



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