Staying healthy is important for people with epilepsy. Diet, physical fitness and sleep are all critical components in a healthy lifestyle.
Physical Fitness & Exercise
Leading an active life is good medicine for most people with epilepsy. If you find that getting overheated or physically tired triggers seizures, then you may want to avoid exercising when it's very hot. Take breaks when you feel you need them.
But if you are like most people with seizures, you will find that exercise is good for you in a number of ways. It makes you feel good and fights depression. It keeps your weight at reasonable levels so you look your best, and it builds self-confidence and self-esteem.
Find out more on our physical fitness and exercise page, including details about precautions for specific physical activities.
Diet and Eating Healthfully
In most cases, epilepsy isn't the kind of condition that can be treated with large doses of vitamins or mineral supplements. In fact, large quantities of either could be bad for your health. Check with your doctor before taking more vitamins than are in typical one-a-day multivitamins. If you are a woman who might become pregnant, ask your doctor about folic acid and how much you should be taking.
Eating a balanced diet is as important for you as it is for everyone else. However, if you think you are overweight, don't go on a crash diet without checking with your doctor first.
Most people who have epilepsy need about the same amount of sleep as everybody else. There's usually no need to take extra naps or to go to bed early.
However, all-night study sessions, a series of late nights, or an overall lack of sleep can greatly raise the risk of seizures. In fact, that's one reason why doctors often ask adults or children suspected of having epilepsy to stay up late the night before an EEG examination. The lack of sleep increases the chances of seizure activity showing up on the tests. Another reason is to increase the chances that you will sleep during part of the EEG. Some seizure patterns are much more common in sleep than while awake.
On the other hand, people with epilepsy should not feel they need an excessive amount of sleep. If you feel tired and sleepy all the time, chances are your medicine needs adjustment in some way, or you may be depressed. Perhaps your dose is too high, or you are taking it at the wrong time of day. Don't make changes yourself, though. Tell your doctor about it.