VNS and Sleep

Army Vet

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With my VNS surgery coming up in the near future, something dawned on me about my difficulty with sleep. As we all know, sleep and stress play MAJOR roles in seizures. If you're stressed, you can't sleep. If you can't sleep, you're stressed. Add these two and seizure likelihood increases.

Anyway, I all the sudden connected sleep and my VNS. Back in the day, I could sleep and then some. Like most college kids, I scheduled my classes no sooner than 10:30 AM so that I could sleep late, but be done NLT 3:00 PM. I had to set a backup alarm to make sure I didn't sleep through it. Well once I got my VNS back in December 2015, I didn't have that "luxury" anymore (ie I always wakeup before 6 AM; usually 3 or 4 AM). Occasionally I get an excellent night sleep (once per month if that) and feel very energized.

So I did some research and found that a VNS might "hurt" sleep hygiene due to breathing. I then connected it with my daytime breathing. I do have more difficulty breathing compared to back in the day before my VNS. I sometimes have to stop in mid sentence because I have to take a deep breath. I've read about the new VNS's have a night feature that you may set a timer for nighttime to turn it off. The neurologist would have to do it with his wand (ie change the settings at a doctor's appointment), but I think this might help my sleep. According to a study I found there was a 21 year old male that was tested that did better with it off than on. Makes sense because there's not a constant shock throughout the night and you can also breathe better.

I'm going to call him to see if it has this feature because I think that will benefit me a lot. Help keep the seizures away during the day, but let me actually sleep at night.

Thoughts? Comments?


Super Moderator / Thank You Queen
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Definitely sounds worth asking about. Nighttime breathing problems (in the form of apnea) are closely correlated with seizures, so if you can breathe easier it’s win-win.