Community Forum

Seizures while sleeping? How can I tell if Im having them?

Im 18 years old. I was diagnosed with Epilepsy about 2-3 months ago. I have currently had 4 seizures, all of which were awake. Recently I've noticed that when I wake up Im more tired than usual even with the 4-6 hrs of sleep i get. My blankets are throw around, one ends up on the floor completely which has never happened before. I am sometimes in a totally different position, once I awoke and went to turn my body left to get out of bed only to feel my desk after i turned my body left, my desk is at the foot of my bed. I also keep a set of Ipod speakers on my night stand on the left of my bed. On the stand is a lamp, alarm clock, phone and the speakers. Recently the speakers and only the speakers have ended up on the floor. The speakers are the second farthest thing away on the stand when Im in bed. I suspect that Im having seizures while I sleep but how can i be sure. Please Help me.


My daughter had seizures at night, even on 2 meds. She was tired all the time, even after "sleeping" for 10-12 hrs. The best recommendation I have for you is to go in the hospital and have a video EEG. They monitor you 24 hrs. a day till you have them and they can record them to see how your brain reacts.

We found out where her's were originating from, had the surgery, and is sleeping so much better now. No seizures since, and is like her old self again.

I am not rying to scare you, but you really need to be careful if you are having siezures at night.  There is a medical term for people who have died from this, it is called SUDEP, you can look this up on the internet.  I lost a cousin in January due to this.  I had my surgery last June and am doing fine, but never knew anything about SUDEP till he died.  I would recomend doing some research on this so you can ask your doctor about it, mine never said a word about it.

I am kind of new to this I have only realized I was having seizures about five months ago. I knew something was wrong but I have a lot of health issues and thought my absentee(pedimal, I think is the term) seizures were me just passing out. I am still trying to get a diagnosis from my neuro dr even though my pcp said he is sure it sounds like some form of seizure disorder. I worry alot about sudep, do you think the fact I have sleep apnea and use a bi pap will help my chances of not dying from this or does it matter? Any help is appreciated. I am pretty sure I am having seizures at night, before I got on my meds I was sleep 15 hours a day and waking up feeling like I was hit by a truck, now when my bf sleeps over he says sometimes he gets beat up in his sleep and he wakes up and watches me and it seems Im having them. What can I do?

What you had was called a Nocturnal Seizure from what I know, it's a seizure you have while you're sleeping. As you said, throwing your blankets around can be a part of it, and losing bladder control is also a sign. I've had them and thrown around blankets and broken the lamp on my nightstand too. I've only had a few, and it usually occurs if I allow myself to get too tired, as in, I stayed up too late, or didn't take my meds or have a snack before bed. I usually take my meds at least an hour before bed, eat something, and try to go to bed earlier. 

Now, I am wondering how much sleep I should allow myself each evening.  I normally have about 6 hours each night.  I am wondering if I need to allow more.  I get fatigue during the day - very frequently, I might add.  I wish I understood why.  Is it because of this - or a side effect to Depakote that I am taking for the seizure control.

George - NYC - It certainly sounds like those events are seizures. For years I had the same kind, and let them go as "nightmares." However, when they began to happen during the day (on my job), I had to have them looked into. They proved to be coming from my epilepsy. I've now lived with what I call "the Big E" for almost 30 years, and have gone through surgery and about 20 different kinds of pills. It does take getting used to, but I've found that being realistic about it (and open with people I know) is half the battle. My seizures are much milder than they were, but I can count on one during my sleep about every month. Hang in there, and do come to the Chat Room offered on here. Great way to meet people similar to you!

Hi Amaterasuat,

Welcome. you've found friends who go through the very same things as you do.

For months I woke up feeling as if somebody had beaten me with a baseball bat- every muscle was sore and tender. All day I dragged around, disoriented, confused and very tired.

One night early on in our relationship, my soon to be wife watched me have a seizure. Scared the living hell out of her. I woke up in the back of an ambulance, with paramedics asking me all kinds of silly questions to find out when I was becoming aware of my surroundings. Same thing happened next two nights. The GP sent me off to a neurologist who made the diagnosis. Ten years later I still have an occasional break through sz, but I'm almost always under control.

 Get with your MD, find a med(s) which work for you. But convince them as I did that since all your sz are nocturnal, you shouldn't loose your driver's license.

Best of fortune my friend. Let us know how things turn out for you, OK?



My name is Laureen and a couple of years ago I too use to have seizures while I slept.  I started back right before I got married.  Just like yourself, my whole entire body was entirely drained and I would feel like I was beaten with a bat.   I would wake up disoriented and  confused and it would take me hours before I would recognize my love ones.  Before long I would breakdown in tears when I realize what has happen.  My seizure are under control, but it never passes my mind till this day "Am I going to have one again"  my last one in my sleep was 5 years ago when I was pregnant and woke up in the ER several days later with my baby in intensive care.

Two years ago my doctor did a scan to check my brain activity while I slept.  This procedure is done for three days to see if you are seizure free.  Unfortunately, he found that I could potentially have seizure while I sleep.  I cried for days but managed to get over it.  I just continue to take my medication and move on.

Just make sure to get with your MD, find a med(s) which work for you.



 I just had to mention how similar my experiance has been. Exept it was my husband who was scared ****less, and me in the abulance. Its really amazing to read about other peoples experiances here. I have been waking up feeling like I have been in a car accident for years. I just feel confuesed as to why no one ever seemed to listen to me when I was younger, and I would say things were off. Everyone always made me feel like I was just lazy, and silly for talking about waking up this way, and having panic attacks. I have been diagnosed now, and am now on Keppra, so far it seems to be doing good things.

Hello Amaterasu. When my disorder took a turn for the worst, I began having nocturnal seizures as well. I knew it the following morning with such signs as a pounding headache, sore limbs, dizziness, and a pillow soaked in saliva from drooling. Find help via medication. If you do not already know, find out exactly where your seizures seem to originate (in the brain, that is). In the meantime, keep your sleeping area safe.



I also have these symtoms sometimes while I'm asleep. I will wake up during the night, and I have a huge headache. Not one like a regular headache, but one that makes my head feel like something hard was smashed on my head. I have never been told by any of my doctors that I have nocturnal seizures, but if this is what you are going through in the middle of the night, this is something I need to discuss with doctors. I also wake up finding slobber at the corner of my mouth, so I need to find out if nocturnal is also part of what I'm suffering. Next to the gran-mals I have, and the pedimals I suffer with. Take care, and God Bless.

This is my first time here but 4yrs.ago I had a seizure in my sleep ending up with 6vertebrea fractured in multiple places and snapped my left arm in half.I was on Klonipin then now I'm on Keppra and have had A hard time with pain pill and patch addiction witch led to me smoking alot of pot to cope with the pain.I now have a metal left shoulder pins in my rt. wrist,vertebraplasty on 3 vertebrea and found out I have osteoporosis frm the steroids in my inhaler I use.I have been to re-hab last yr. so I'm doing alright now has anyone had a similiar experience?I last had a big seizure while I was driving in June,My buddy stopped the car the cops showed up and thought I was on PCP and beat the crap out of me.all I remember is wakeing up in the ER but until that time I only had big seizures in my sleep and petie mals while I was awake.I filed a complaint aginst the cops but havent heard anything yet has anyone had a similar type of seizure changing from night to daylight? I cant type so sorry if thing are wrong

George - NYC -- A majority of my seizures happen while I am asleep, and usually within an hour of falling asleep -- OR a half-hour or so of when I wake up. I do live with another man who is able to witness what I go through, and he says that although I am fairly calm while they're happening, I am inclined to get up, often change clothes, go in and out of the bathroom several times, keep asking the time, and often will walk around the apartment not knowing what I have in mind. What's odd is that when I am pretty much "myself" again, I do not remember a single moment. But...I can count on a rough headache, confusion, and moderate depression for a few hours. However, when you've had epilepsy as long as I have (30+ years), you learn to live with unpredictable behavior like this!

I also have had seizures in my sleep.  My husband has witnessed them all.  Like the other people, I felt like I was hit with a bat, confused for hours, bit my tongue and had extreme head aches.  You need to make your bedroom a safe place.  Good luck finding the proper medication. 


Hi! I have been epiletic for 32 yrs. now, but they were only the pedimal seizures.  Except for about a year now started having gran-mal seizures. I can tell you that when I do have seizues at night the next day I have this weird feeling. the feeling very similar to the one I get while I have a gran-mal, and a pedimal. Except this one is like far away.  I get them so often that sometimes I'm afraid to sleep in my own room by myself. You see, I'm not as lucky as you because I'm single, and I live with my parents. I sometimes feel like a coward because I want to be able to sleep by myself but many times I wake up during the night and I feel like someone is suffocating me. So I wake up trying to bring air to my lungs, and I wind up yelling in the night. I thank God for the support my family members give me, especially my parents. I don't know how you feel when you wake-up in the morning after you had a seizure, or seizures during the night. I just hope the info. about what my feelings are the next day I had them throughout the night with give you some clue to how you might feel when you might have had them.  Take care, and God Bless.

Sometimes I'll have a migraine-like headache the next day, but usually I don't usually know if I've had a nocturnal seizure-- until someone else tells me.  Recently, though, I've been more tired.  I've also been having more auras than I normally do.  I visited family in July and my father told me I'd had one the first evening I was there, so I do suspect I'm having them again.

 Talked to my doctor about this, but unless I'm hooked up to an EEG, there's not much I can do to find out other than asking someone to be with me.  My daughter offered her bedroom, (sleeping near her), for a little while so she can let me know.  I might take her up on it.  I think I'd go for the floor and not a cot though.  Might be safer.  ;)

Would be nice to find a tape recorder that would run for 8 hours.

You can buy camcorders that will record for that length but might have to have them plugged into the wall while recording. I have thought of doing this myself.

I usually feel tired as well after sleeping at night. I usually know I have had a seizure 1 by the bed will be wet, my mouth will be bleeding and my bf will be awake playing on the computer. He always wakes up for about an hr and a half aster my seizures to make sure I don't have anther one and I keep breathing at night.

I was diagnosed with epilepsy about 5 years ago, after waking up on the floor 3 times, tangled in my duvet, feeling groggy, extremely tired, drooling and with a sore, achy body. The last one was quite bad, because my tongue was very bitten & bruised and 3 days later, when I stretched out my arm to close my car door, I dislocated my shoulder. I had no idea what was happening to me & was diagnosed after spending a night in hospital for observation & MRI. No apparent causes were found, except lack of adequate rest. I was working 7 days a week & not getting enough sleep. Not everyone who doesn't get enough rest, will get epilepsy. I stopped medication (300mg Tegetol/day) under dr's supervison, 3 weeks ago, but had a seizure last night. I woke up, having wet myself, feeling groggy, sore body, headache & bruised tongue. Back to the medication for me!

I have just been diagnosed with TLE.  My neuro and I don't seem to mesh and I am waiting on a change in insurance to be able to find another neuro.  Anyway - I told my neuro that I have been wetting the bed several times weekly.  My covers or pillows don't seem to be messed up, but after I urinate on myself I usually wake up. When I wake up, I am really confused.  I remember the entire thing after I wake up, even with the confusion.  My husband would sleep through an earthquake, so he is not a good source of info.  My neuro did say he could do the video monitoring, however it is not covered by insurance.  He said it would be about $1000 dollars a day - then not getting a pay check because of missing work - there is no way I could do it.  During the day I have complex partial sz.  Does it sound like I am having sz in my sleep?  Any advise or comment would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.  I am so glad I found this place.  It has been a great source of relief for me to see that I am not alone.


I have seizure myself & most of them are while I am asleep. I wake up & feel like I'm on fire from my head to the tips of my toes. the only thing that pulls me out of it is a cold wet rag or towel. It's horrible it makes you feel awful the next day. I always feel real groggy & really sleep. After having seizures I've noticed then next day I'm pretty much zapped.
from what you've stated here you very well may be having seizures while you are alseep because your aware of things that are happening but cannot control it.
I HOPE & PRAY that you are not having them while you are asleep, but from my experience with seizures this really sounds like it.
praying for you & yours Angela Hayes

what helped my nightsez was to eat something before I go to sleep and try to get 8hrs every night. My last sez were the first in 6 mths.Our dog had some kind of a cough and kept me awake my doc thinks this disturbed my sleep patterns enough to be a trigger.Man did I get sick.

Hey Amaterasu,
I had one seizure while asleep. I was in a bunk bed at college and I woke up on the floor, haven fallen off the top bunk. For a while I thought I just rolled out. All my muscles (chest, ankles, arms, neck... everything) were sore. Months later when I had a seizure while awake I realized what it must have been.

I don't know how your seizures normally are, but with mine, if I had one while asleep I'd know in the morning because I'd feel like I had a monster work out.

I'll wake up in the middle of the night and my hand will be moving by itself. Then the next morning after 10 hours of sleep i'll be exhausted. It feels like i haven't slept at all.

The last seizure I had was while I was sleeping. I woke up feeling really light headed and nauseous. I first thought I had a 24 hr bug, but realized that my arms/legs were hurting, and noticed that I had teeth marks in my tongue. :( Luckily, I was still in bed and I didn't need to go to the hospital. But, I did have to go another 6 months without driving. I will say I've been seizure-free for a year and a half now! I would go talk to your neurologist to have him decide. It sounds like you do have seizures at night. And like one person said on here, my seizures didn't have a known cause other than lack of sleep and stress. Best of luck to you!

My son has the majority of his seizures while asleep.  We purchased an EMFIT Movement Monitor, it is about $500.  You put this machine under the mattress, and it picks up mico-movments (convulsions from your seizure).  An alarm will go off if you are having a siezure.  There is a way to download the data from the machine.  My husband and I haven't tried to download the information because we are always home when it goes off (my son is 6). 

That might work well for parents but I want to know for myself and I certainly don't need an alarm going off when I have a seizures.  They can be frightening enough.

The reason I mentioned it is because the next morning you could download the info. from the night before and it would tell you how many times the alarm went off and for how long.  However, if it is a false alarm it is very loud and annoying.  Just an idea

I am 33 and I had epilepsy, for 32 years.... Must of my seizures have been awake. But over the years, I have had some sleeping ones. You just know something is difference. your subconscious tells you.

I had one 3 months ago.... It wasn't nice, because when I got up It felt like a real bad hang over.

I've been diagnosed with seizure's when i was 25years old. More recently I've been feeling very weird and tired when I'm awakening in themorning getting ready for work. i think that my seizure's have progresssed and I'm having them in my sleep. I git fired from my job due to my seizure's and my neuro has sent me to an epileptologist. I'm all over the place with this cause some times I can't think straight. My head hurts all the time after a seizure and I feel very very tired. I'm new to this website has anyone else been feeling like the doctor's aren't really sure what to do but switch meds? Please help I'm really depressed and just need someone to talk to who is dealing with seizure's at such a young age and a singlemother.

 I developed epilepsy after delivering my first & only child. They said the trauma of the birth caused it. My episodes were just muscle tremers for years until I started menapause. Then lack of sleep, stress, loss of my job triggered my first grand mal in 26 years, smack dab in the bridal shop of my daughters fitting. I lost 6 hours of time & never got it back. I had 1 more a year later while changing my meds, but none since for more than 2 years now.

But now I wonder if I have ever had any in my sleep, I've slept 10 hours & would wake up like I just drank all night long with the worst headache ever.

Having a grand mal for the first time scared the daylights out of me, made me afraid to do anything or go anywhere by myself. I had no one to talk to about my fears.

I know how you feel. Doctors just don't know what do to except give more medication....

I'm starting to wonder if I have them in my sleep for years I've had the same things happen with my bed and my things in my room around my bed. I wake up in a different position and more tired. About a week ago my roommate I live in a shelter had them call 911 because I was "seizing" in my sleep

I never knew I was for a long time although I've had them for about 30 years. The only way i found out was through eeg's and my RNS implant catching seizures in my sleep.

Our Mission

The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

24/7 helpline