Background: Patients with epilepsy present sleep disturbances that may adversely impact their quality of life, which can in turn facilitate encourage seizure occurrence. Evidence from
human and animal studies has demonstrated that exercise can exert beneficial effects, such as a reduction of seizure susceptibility and an improvement of quality of life of individuals with epilepsy.
Exercise has been found to be beneficial for enhancing the quality of sleep among patients with neurological disorders. Thus, the analysis of sleep patterns induced by exercise could provide
information about the mechanisms by which exercise can exert a positive influence on epilepsy. Objective: Our aim was to investigate the influence of an acute exercise session on
sleep pattern in rats with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE).
Methods: Twenty male Wistar rats were randomly assigned to 4 groups: control (C); acute exercise (EX); epilepsy (E) and epilepsy acute exercise (EEX). Two sleep electrocorticography
recordings were performed during the light phase [baseline and day 2 (after the acute physical exercise session)]. The following sleep parameters were evaluated: wakefulness, slow wave sleep (SWS),
rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and total sleep time (TST). After baseline recording, the exercise groups (EX and EEX) were submitted to an exercise session on a motor-driven treadmill at 12 m/min for
30 minutes. Twelve hours later, the rats were submitted to the second sleep recording.
Results: At baseline, the E group showed a higher wakefulness and a lower TST, SWS and REM sleep compared with the C group. After acute exercise, there was an increase in TST and SWS
and a decrease of wakefulness in EEX (+11.10%, +20.29% and -11.25%, respectively) and EX (+5.20%, +11.60% and -8.12%, respectively) groups.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that acute physical exercise positively impacts the sleep pattern of rats with TLE, inducing a more consolidated sleep.