Nocturnal seizure coping strategies
I’ve read five abstracts now on pubmed that all say melatonin (the sleep hormone) depresses GABA receptor function and is probably responsible for some forms of nocturnal seizures. It also seems to inhibit dopamine, which also leads to increased likelihood of seizures. Dopamine is the ‘happy’ or ‘reward’ neurotransmitter.
The simplest way to decrease melatonin is to leave a light on at night. Epilepsy charities say “It has been suggested in the past that sleeping with the light on and with a ticking clock or radio in the room may also decrease the tendency toward seizing. This is at least worth a trial.”
However melatonin attenuates seizures in some people, particularly in those with myoclonus, so decreasing melatonin can also make seizures more likely. The key seems to be to figure out what kind of seizures you are having and whether they are melatonin responsive.
I quote from Wikipedia: “When a subject is deprived of sleep and is trying to fight sleep, hypnic jerks can occur more often. This normally happens after the subject has successfully deprived themselves of sleep for longer than 24 hours.” Myoclonus seems to have a complicated relationship with melatonin.
Mozart helps prevent seizures. It seems particular characteristics of Mozart and Bach decrease seizure activity by training the temporal/spacial part of the brain that misbehaves during seizures. Interestingly, music also increases dopamine levels. The music is quite a ‘happy’ piece.
Seizure potential can also be attenuated by weak magnetic fields. There are quite a few studies that suggest that sudden geomagnetic fluctuations can cause seizures – one study found that around 10-12% of seizures in lab rats could be blamed on geomag fluctuations. Presumably a weak magnetic field near your head will mask the impact of any sudden changes and prevent this.