- How to Fall Asleep in 10, 60, or 120 Seconds
- The military method
- 4-7-8 breathing method
- Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR)
- Tell yourself to stay awake
- Visualize a calm place
- Acupressure for sleep
- Cooling the brain during sleep may be a natural and effective treatment for insomnia
- 15 Science-Backed Ways To Fall Asleep Faster
- Hide your clock
- Spotify to Launch Fundraising Feature, Donate Up to Million to Help Struggling Musicians
- Febrile Seizures
- What types of febrile seizures are there?
- What tests need to be done?
- How are febrile seizures treated?
- What's the outlook?
- What are the risks for developing epilepsy later?
- How do those risks factor into the chance my child will develop epilepsy?
How to Fall Asleep in 10, 60, or 120 Seconds
Spending more time trying to fall asleep rather than actually sleeping? You’re not alone.
Just the act of trying too hard can cause (or continue) a cycle of anxious, nerve-wracking energy that keeps our minds awake.
And if your mind can’t sleep, it’s really difficult for your body to follow. But there are scientific tricks you can try to flip the switch and guide your body into a safe shutdown mode.
We cover some science-based tricks to help you fall asleep faster.
It usually takes a magic spell to fall asleep this quickly and on cue, but just spells, with practice you can eventually get to the sweet 10-second spot.
Note: The method below takes a full 120 seconds to finish, but the last 10 seconds is said to be truly all it takes to finally snooze.
The military method
The popular military method, which was first reported by Sharon Ackerman, comes from a book titled “Relax and Win: Championship Performance.”
According to Ackerman, the United States Navy Pre-Flight School created a routine to help pilots fall asleep in 2 minutes or less. It took pilots about 6 weeks of practice, but it worked — even after drinking coffee and with gunfire noises in the background.
This practice is said to even work for people who need to sleep sitting up!
- Relax your entire face, including the muscles inside your mouth.
- Drop your shoulders to release the tension and let your hands drop to the side of your body.
- Exhale, relaxing your chest.
- Relax your legs, thighs, and calves.
- Clear your mind for 10 seconds by imagining a relaxing scene.
- If this doesn’t work, try saying the words “don’t think” over and over for 10 seconds.
- Within 10 seconds, you should fall asleep!
If this doesn’t work for you, you may need to work on the foundations of the military method: breathing and muscle relaxation, which have some scientific evidence that they work. Also, some conditions such as ADHD or anxiety may interfere with this method’s effectiveness.
Keep reading to learn about the techniques this military method is and how to practice them effectively.
These two methods, which focus on your breathe or muscles, help you take your mind off topic and back to bed.
If you’re a beginner trying these hacks out, these methods may take up to 2 minutes to work.
4-7-8 breathing method
Mixing together the powers of meditation and visualization, this breathing method becomes more effective with practice. If you have a respiratory condition, such as asthma or COPD, consider checking with your doctor before beginning, as this could aggravate your symptoms.
To prepare, place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth, behind your two front teeth. Keep your tongue there the whole time and purse your lips if you need to.
- Let your lips part slightly and make a whooshing sound as you exhale through your mouth.
- Then close your lips and inhale silently through your nose. Count to 4 in your head.
- Then hold your breath for 7 seconds.
- After, exhale (with a whoosh sound) for 8 seconds.
- Avoid being too alert at the end of each cycle. Try to practice it mindlessly.
- Complete this cycle for four full breaths.
Let your body sleep if you feel relaxation coming on earlier than anticipated.
Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR)
Progressive muscle relaxation, also known as deep muscle relaxation, helps you unwind.
The premise is to tense — but not strain — your muscles and relax to release the tension. This movement promotes tranquility throughout your body. It’s a trick recommended to help with insomnia.
Before you start, try practicing the 4-7-8 method while imagining the tension leaving your body as you exhale.
- Raise your eyebrows as high as possible for 5 seconds. This will tighten your forehead muscles.
- Relax your muscles immediately and feel the tension drop. Wait 10 seconds.
- Smile widely to create tension in your cheeks. Hold for 5 seconds. Relax.
- Pause 10 seconds.
- Squint with your eyes shut. Hold 5 seconds. Relax.
- Pause 10 seconds.
- Tilt your head slightly back so you’re comfortably looking at the ceiling. Hold 5 seconds. Relax as your neck sinks back into the pillow.
- Pause 10 seconds.
- Keep moving down the rest of the body, from your triceps to chest, thighs to feet.
- Let yourself fall asleep, even if you don’t finish tensing and relaxing the rest of your body.
As you do this, focus on how relaxed and heavy your body feels when it’s relaxed and in a comfortable state.
If the previous methods still didn’t work, there might be an underlying blockage you need to get out. Try these techniques!
Tell yourself to stay awake
Also called paradoxical intention, telling yourself to stay awake may be a good way to fall asleep faster.
For people — especially those with insomnia — trying to sleep can increase performance anxiety.
Research has found that people who practiced paradoxical intention fell asleep faster than those who didn’t. If you often find yourself stressed out about trying to sleep, this method may be more effective than traditional, intentional breathing practices.
Visualize a calm place
If counting activates your mind too much, try engaging your imagination.
Some say that visualizing something can make it real, and it’s possible this works with sleep, too.
In a 2002 study from the University of Oxford, researchers found that people who engaged in “imagery distraction” fell asleep faster than those who had general distraction or no instructions.
- Instead of counting sheep, try to imagine a serene setting and all the feelings that go with it. For example, you can imagine a waterfall, the sounds of echoing, rushing water, and the scent of damp moss. The key is to let this image take up space in your brain to prevent yourself from “re-engaging with thoughts, worries, and concerns” pre-sleep.
Acupressure for sleep
There’s not enough research to confidently determine if acupressure truly works. However, the research that’s available is promising.
One method is to target areas you know and feel are particularly tense, such as the upper part of your nose bridge or your temples.
However, there are also specific points in acupressure that are reported to help with insomnia. Here are three you can do without sitting up:
1. Spirit gate
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- Feel for the small, hollow space under your palm on your pinky side.
- Gently apply pressure in a circular or up-and-down movement for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Press down the left side of the point (palm facing) with gentle pressure for a few seconds, and then hold the right side (back-of-hand facing).
- Repeat on the same area of your other wrist.
2. Inner frontier gate
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- On one palm facing up, count three finger-widths down from your wrist crease.
- With your thumb, apply a steady downward pressure between the two tendons.
- You can massage in circular or up-and-down motion until you feel your muscles relax.
3. Wind pool
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- Interlock your fingers together (fingers out and palms touching) and open up your palms to create a cup shape with your hands.
- Position your thumbs at the base of your skull, with thumbs touching where your neck and head connect.
- Apply a deep and firm pressure, using circular or up-and-down movements to massage this area.
- Breathe deeply and pay attention to how your body relaxes as you exhale.
If you’ve tried these methods and are still finding yourself unable to fall asleep in 2 minutes or less, see if there are other tips you can take to make your bedroom a more sleep-friendly place.
- hiding your clock
- taking a warm shower before bed
- opening the window to keep your room cool
- wearing socks
- a gentle 15-minute yoga routine
- placing your phone far away from your bed
- aromatherapy (lavender, chamomile, or clary sage)
- eating earlier to avoid stomach digestion or stimulation before bed
If you find the atmosphere in your room to be damaging to your sleep, there are tools you can use to block out the noise. Literally.
Try investing in blackout curtains, white noise machines (or listening to music with an auto-stop timer), and ear plugs, all of which you can buy online.
On the other hand, sleep hygiene, or clean sleep, is real and effective.
Before you truly take on the military method or 4-7-8 breathing, see what you can optimize to your bedroom for soundless slumber.
Christal Yuen is an editor at Healthline who writes and edits content revolving around sex, beauty, health, and wellness. She’s constantly looking for ways to help readers forge their own health journey. You can find her on .
Cooling the brain during sleep may be a natural and effective treatment for insomnia
People with primary insomnia may be able to find relief by wearing a cap that cools the brain during sleep, suggests a research abstract presented June 13, in Minneapolis, Minn., at Sleep 2011, the 25th Anniversary Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS).
According to the authors, a reduction in metabolism in the brain's frontal cortex occurs while falling asleep and is associated with restorative sleep. However, insomnia is associated with increased metabolism in this same brain region. One way to reduce cerebral metabolic activity is to use frontal cerebral thermal transfer to cool the brain, a process known as “cerebral hypothermia.”
Results show that there were linear effects of all-night thermal transfer intensities on sleep latency and sleep efficiency. The time that it took subjects with primary insomnia to fall asleep (13 minutes) and the percentage of time in bed that they slept (89 percent) during treatment at the maximal cooling intensity were similar to healthy controls (16 minutes and 89 percent).
“The most significant finding from this study is that we can have a beneficial impact on the sleep of insomnia patients via a safe, non-pharmaceutical mechanism that can be made widely available for home use by insomnia sufferers,” said principal investigator and lead author Dr.
Eric Nofzinger, professor and director of the Sleep Neuroimaging Research Program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “The finding of a linear dose response effect of the treatment implies a direct beneficial impact on the neurobiology of insomnia that can improve the sleep of insomnia patients.
We believe this has far-ranging implications for how insomnia can be managed in the future.”
In this crossover study, Nofzinger and co-investigator Dr. Daniel Buysse screened 110 people, enrolling 12 people with primary insomnia and 12 healthy, age-and gender-matched controls. Participants with insomnia had an average age of about 45 years, and nine of the 12 subjects were women.
Participants received all-night frontal cerebral thermal transfer by wearing a soft plastic cap on their head. The cap contained tubes that were filled with circulating water. The effectiveness of varying thermal transfer intensities was investigated by implementing multiple conditions: no cooling cap, and cooling cap with either neutral, moderate or maximal cooling intensity.
According to Nofzinger, the simplicity and effectiveness of this natural treatment could be a long-awaited breakthrough for insomnia sufferers.
“The primary medical treatment for insomnia has long been the prescription of hypnotics, or sleeping pills, yet only about 25 percent of patients using these treatments are satisfied, citing concerns regarding side effects and the possibility of dependence on a pill to help them sleep at night,” he said.
“There exists a large gap between what patients with insomnia are looking for to help them and what is currently available. Patients have long sought a more natural, non-pharmaceutical means to help them with their sleep at night.
The identification of a dose-dependent improvement by the device used in this study opens the door to a novel, safe and more natural way to achieve restorative sleep in insomnia care.”
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that chronic insomnia, or symptoms that last for at least a month, affects about 10 percent of adults.
Most often insomnia is a “comorbid” disorder, occurring with another medical illness, mental disorder or sleep disorder, or associated with certain medications or substances.
Fewer people suffering from insomnia are considered to have primary insomnia, which is defined as a difficulty falling asleep or maintaining sleep in the absence of coexisting conditions.
In a study published in 2006 in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, Nofzinger and Buysse reported that increased relative metabolism in several brain regions during non-REM sleep in patients with insomnia is associated with increased wakefulness after sleep onset. They speculated that these effects may result from increased activity in arousal systems during sleep or heightened cognitive activity related to processes such as conflict, anxiety, and fear.
Materials provided by American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
15 Science-Backed Ways To Fall Asleep Faster
Can’t sleep? Join the club. Insomnia affects almost half of U.S. adults 60 and older, says the National Institutes of Health.
Unless certain medical conditions or medications are the cause of your sleeplessness, the most common culprit is anxiety, says Lisa Meltzer, an education scholar for the National Sleep Foundation and associate professor of pediatrics at National Jewish Health in Denver. “If you’re anxious and worried, it’s very difficult to relax and fall asleep,” says Meltzer. “When you’re not sleeping well, you’ll be more anxious and you’ll have a harder time regulating emotion. It feeds on itself.”
Want to coax yourself into dreamland as soon as you hit the sack? Try the following scientifically-supported methods, that include relaxation techniques, distraction exercises, and more ways to prepare your body for slumber.
Is there anything reverse psychology isn’t good for? In this case, it may alleviate excessive sleep anxiety. A small study conducted at the University of Glasgow found that sleep-onset insomniacs who were instructed to lay in bed and try to stay awake with their eyes open fell asleep quicker than participants told to fall asleep without this “paradoxical intention” (PI). Participants in the PI group fell asleep easier and showed less sleep performance anxiety.
“I always tell people, sleep is the one thing in life where the harder you try and the harder you work at it, the more ly it is you’ll fail,” says Meltzer. “Reverse psychology is not a long-term solution, but it can help.”
If you wake up in the night and can’t get back to sleep within 15 minutes or so, get bed and do an activity that requires your hands and your head, a jigsaw puzzle or a coloring book, says Richard Wiseman, professor for the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University if Hertfordshire and author of Night School: Wake up to the power of sleep. Stay away from the TV and digital screens, whose blue light has been proven to suppress melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. “The key is to avoid associating your bed with being awake,” Wiseman says in his 59 Seconds video.
“This is a stimulus control theory,” says Meltzer. “Everything in life has a stimulus value, even your bed,” meaning your body should recognize that lying in bed means it’s time to go to sleep.
To give your bed that value, the only things you should be doing in it are sleep and sex, she explains. “Getting bed if you can’t sleep is the hardest one to do, but it’s so important. If you’re spending 10 hours in bed, but only sleeping six, that’s really bad.
Your bed becomes a place for thinking, worrying, watching TV, and not for sleeping.”
Hide your clock
You toss and turn, trying to fall asleep, watching the minutes tick toward morning on your bedside clock. Does this scenario sound familiar? Do yourself a favor: Hide the clock.
Constantly checking the time only increases your stress, making it harder to turn down the dial on your nervous system and fall asleep.
“If you stare at the clock, it increases your stress and worry about not falling asleep,” says Meltzer.
Did you know your internal body temperature is integral to regulating your biological body clock? When you’re falling asleep, your body temperature drops slightly, which some experts believe actually helps the process along, according to the Harvard Medical School. The National Sleep Foundation recommends a bedroom temperature of 60 to 67 degrees F for the most sleep-friendly conditions.
“The secret is cool, dark, comfortable bedrooms,” says Meltzer. “Darkness cues the brain to make melatonin, which tells your interior clock that it’s time to sleep. Melatonin cools your internal body temperature, which reaches its lowest point between 2 and 4 a.m.”
Warming your body up with a hot shower an hour before bed and then stepping into cooler air will cause your body temperature to drop more precipitously. Studies show that this rapid temperature decrease slows your metabolism faster and prepares your body for sleep.
“Showers can also be very relaxing, so that helps, too,” says Meltzer. If you shower every night around the same time, making it part of a consistent bedtime routine, you’ll see the most sleep value from it, she adds.
“Then your body has an expectation of what’s coming next.”
Researchers from a Swiss study published in the journal Nature observed that warm feet and hands were the best predictor of rapid sleep onset.
In the study, participants placed a hot water bottle at their feet, which widened the blood vessels on the surface of the skin, thereby increasing heat loss.
Shifting blood flow from your core to your extremities cools down your body, working in concert with melatonin.
If you’re anxious or distressed at bedtime, the best medicine may be a face full of ice-cold water. When you’re in a full-on state, your nervous system desperately needs to be reset to help you calm down. Submerging your face in a bowl of cold water triggers an involuntary phenomenon called the Mammalian Dive Reflex, which lowers your heart rate and blood pressure. Then it’s off to bed with a soothed system. Championed by best-selling author Dr. Andrew Weil—and various wellness bloggers, the “4-7-8” breathing technique is purported to help you fall asleep in under a minute. The method is said to relax you by increasing the amount of oxygen in your blood stream, slowing your heart rate, and releasing more carbon dioxide from the lungs. According to DrWeil.com, here’s how you do it:
- Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
- Repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Not only does lavender smell lovely, but the aroma of this flowering herb may also relax your nerves, lower your blood pressure, and put you in a relaxed state. A 2005 study at Wesleyan University found that subjects who sniffed lavender oil for two minutes at three, 10-minute intervals before bedtime increased their amount of deep sleep and felt more vigorous in the morning.
“Some people respond really well to scents,” says Meltzer. “If they’re breathing it in deeply, it can help them clear their minds. Also, if it’s part of a bedtime routine, that might be the secret.”
Rather than counting sheep, visualize an environment that makes you feel calm and happy. The key to success is thinking of a scene that’s engaging enough to distract you from your thoughts and worries for a while. In an Oxford University study published in the journal Behavior Research and Therapy, insomniacs who were instructed to imagine a relaxing scene, such as a beach or a waterfall, fell asleep 20 minutes faster than insomniacs who were told to count sheep or do nothing special at all.
“As adults, finding ways to manage stress can get lost, but it is so important,” says Meltzer.
Studies have shown that classical music, or any music that has a slow rhythm of 60 to 80 beats per minute, can help lull you to sleep. In a 2008 study, students aged 19 to 28 who listened to relaxing classical music for 45 minutes before bed showed significant improvement in sleep quality. Bonus: They also reported decreased symptoms of depression. When it comes to sleep, the less blue light you expose yourself to in the hours before bedtime, the better. Light of any kind can suppress your body’s production of melatonin, but blue light waves do so more powerfully, thereby shifting sleep-friendly circadian rhythms, says Harvard Health Publications. Besides electronic devices tablets and smartphones, the biggest blue-light offenders in your home are ly fluorescent lightbulbs and LED lights, which many people use because of their energy efficiency and powerful light. Give yourself a romantic break from all the blue and eat dinner by candlelight. Got grandkids? That means you probably have a plastic bottle of bubbles around the house. The benefits of blowing them before bed are two-fold: Bubbles are slightly hypnotic to look at and require a process of deep breathing to blow, said Rachel Marie E. Salas, M.D., a professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in a recent New York Post article. “It’s a deep breathing exercise, which helps calm your body and mind,” she says. “And since it’s such a silly activity, it can also take your mind off of any potential sleep-thwarting thoughts.” Recommended by the National Sleep Foundation as a way to fall asleep fast, progressive muscle relaxation involves slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle in your body to help your body relax. The Mayo Clinic describes the technique as follows:
Start by tensing and relaxing the muscles in your toes and progressively working your way up to your neck and head. You can also start with your head and neck and work down to your toes. Tense your muscles for at least five seconds and then relax for 30 seconds, and repeat.
“I encourage patients to try progressive relaxation,” says Meltzer. “It’s not enough by itself, but in combination with other things, it definitely makes a huge difference.”
Derived from acupuncture, acupressure is an alternative medicine technique based in the Chinese medical theory that a network of energy flows through specific points in your body.
Pressing on these points is meant to restore balance and regulate your mind, body, and spirit.
A faculty member from leading natural health university Bastyr University suggests these acupressure techniques to alleviate sleeplessness:
- Between your eyebrows, there is a small depression on the level of your brows, right above the nose. Apply gentle pressure to that point for a minute.
- Between your first and second toes, on top of the foot, there is a depression. Press that area for a few minutes until you feel a dull ache.
- Imagine that your foot has three sections, beginning at the tips of your toes and ending at the back of your heel. Find the distance one-third back from the tips of your toes and press on the sole of your foot for a few minutes.
- Massage both of your ears for a minute.
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Spotify to Launch Fundraising Feature, Donate Up to $10 Million to Help Struggling Musicians
Spotify will donate up to $10 million to help musicians and artists who are work due to the coronavirus, and the streaming service is also launching a program to connect artists with organizations that can provide financial relief and directly fund raise, the company announced Wednesday.
First, Spotify will launch the Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief project. Anyone looking to donate can find verified organizations that will offer financial relief to music professionals in need around the globe. The company specifically is partnering with the Recording Academy’s MusiCares as well as the PRS Foundation and Help Musicians, with Spotify looking to add more partners.
The company will then match any donations made to the COVID-19 Music Relief page up to a total contribution from Spotify of $10 million.
Also Read: Major Music Streaming Services Contribute Millions to Fund for Work Musicians
Spotify is also working on launching a new feature in which artists will be able to fundraise directly from fans via a link to a verified funding page that will appear on their artist profile. Artists can elect to set up their page to raise funds for themselves, for another charitable organization or for another artist in need.
The new feature will be integrated into the existing Spotify for Artists hub. It will be optional for artists to leverage, and no changes will be made to an artist’s profile page unless they opt in, and Spotify will not take a cut of the contributions.
The coronavirus shut down concert tours globally and postponed festivals such as Coachella and Bonnaroo, among others, leaving musicians, technicians, crew members, engineers and promoters, many who are freelancers or are self-employed work and are not eligible for healthcare coverage or unemployment benefits.
Also Read: Music Industry Won't 'Be Able to Adapt' to Coronavirus, Grammys Chief Says
On Tuesday, independent artists led by Bikini Kill, Neutral Milk Hotel, Snail Mail, Fugazi and more signed an open letter asking Congress for financial aid in a federal relief package.
“We pay significant amounts in income tax to the state and federal government, but because most of us are categorized as self-employed, we are unable to access the same benefits as those with single-employer jobs,” the letter reads. “Workers should be able to use any income — including 1099 earnings and demonstrable anticipated future income wiped out by COVID-19 — to apply for unemployment and other benefits.”
In addition to charities MusiCares working to give money directly to artists, some services Bandcamp and Songtradr have waived licensing fees so that 100% of a consumer’s purchase goes directly to the artists.
If you are interested in learning more about how to contribute, visit Spotify’s COVID-19 website here. Musicians interested in applying to use the new fundraising feature when it becomes available can apply here.
- When New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo closed Broadway theaters on March 12 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the New York theater scene was heating up ahead of the Tony Awards — with 31 shows playing and another eight scheduled to begin performances by mid-April. But the uncertainty of when theaters (and Broadway-bound tourists) might return has forced some producers to close shows early — or push new productions to sometime in the future.
- Closed: “Hangmen” Martin McDonagh’s new comedy, starring Dan Stevens (“Downton Abbey”) and Mark Addy (“Game of Thrones”), announced March 20 it would not reopen after playing 13 preview performances ahead of an expected March 19 official opening.
- Closed: “Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” The revival of Edward Albee's classic drama, starring Laurie Metcalf and Rupert Everett, had played just nine preview performances before Broadway went dark. With the scheduled April 9 official opening off the table, producers decided to close the show on March 21.
- Postponed: “Flying Over Sunset” The new musical by composer Tom Kitt (“Next to Normal,” pictured), lyricist Michael Korie (“Grey Gardens”) and book writer James Lapine (“Into the Woods”) was scheduled to begin performances on March 12 ahead of an official April 16 opening. On March 24 the Lincoln Center Theater announced the show's opening would be pushed to the fall.
- “Birthday Candles” Noah Haidle's play, starring Debra Messing and Andre Braugher, was due to begin performances in early April. But on March 25, Roundabout Theatre Company announced it would open this fall instead.
- “Caroline, or Change” Roundabout also delayed the opening of its revival of the Jeanine Tesori-Tony Kushner musical “Caroline, or Change,” starring Sharon D. Clarke in an Olivier Award-winning performance. The show had been set for an April 7 opening at Studio 54.
- All Broadway (and Off Broadway) theaters have shuttered until at least April 12 — and there's no word yet on when performances might resume and whether this year's Tony Awards will proceed on June 7 as planned.
When New York Gov.
Andrew Cuomo closed Broadway theaters on March 12 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the New York theater scene was heating up ahead of the Tony Awards — with 31 shows playing and another eight scheduled to begin performances by mid-April. But the uncertainty of when theaters (and Broadway-bound tourists) might return has forced some producers to close shows early — or push new productions to sometime in the future.
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Children aged 3 months to 5 or 6 years may have seizures when they have a high fever.
These are called febrile seizures (pronounced FEB-rile) and occur in 2% to 5% of all children (2 to 5 100 children). There is a slight tendency for them to run in families.
If a child's parents, brothers or sisters, or other close relatives have had febrile seizures, the child is a bit more ly to have them.
Sometimes the seizure comes ” the blue” before it is recognized that the child is ill. A fever may begin silently in a previously healthy child. A seizure can be the first sign that alerts the family that the child is ill.
What types of febrile seizures are there?
Febrile seizures have been divided two groups, simple or complex.
Febrile seizures are considered “simple” if they meet all of the following criteria:
- Generalized full body convulsions
- Last less than 15 minutes
- No more than one in a 24-hour period
Febrile seizures are considered “complex or complicated” if any of the following features are present:
- Start focally with one body part moving independently of others
- Last more than 15 minutes
- Occur more than once in a 24-hour period
What tests need to be done?
The most important question that needs to be answered in a child with a febrile seizure is, “What is the cause of the fever?” Even if the seizure is over, any young child who has a seizure with fever should be seen by a doctor to make sure they do not have a brain infection, such as meningitis.
- Your doctor will ask questions about any symptoms suggestive of infection and perform a careful physical exam to look for signs of infection.
- Blood tests may be needed.
- A spinal tap may be needed in some cases if your doctor is worried about meningitis. This is done more commonly in children under 12 months of age, but rarely is needed in older children.
- Although an EEG (electroencephalogram) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) are not needed most of the time, these may be done when a seizure is very prolonged, if the seizure begins focally, or if there are any concerns on examination.
How are febrile seizures treated?
Febrile seizures cannot be prevented by giving the child lukewarm baths, applying cool cloths to the child's head or body, or using fever-reducing medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). Doing these things may make a feverish child feel better, but they do not prevent febrile seizures.
During a seizure:
- Place the child on his or her side on a protected surface and watch carefully.
- Keep track of the time. If the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes, call 911 or take the child to an emergency room.
Learn more seizure first aid
Most children who have febrile seizures do not require daily treatment with seizure medicines. However, children who have a history of prolonged febrile seizures and those who live in more remote areas with poor access to prompt medical care should be given a rescue medication.
- A rescue medicine is designed to stop seizures fast. They are meant to be used in certain situations, not daily.
- For a child with febril seizures, the health care provider may ask that they be given a rescue medicine at the time of another febrile seizure lasting longer than 3-5 minutes.
- Examples of rescue medication include diazepam (Diastat) gel given rectally, midazolam liquid given nasally, or diazapam nasally or orally. (Nasal forms of medicines are being reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.)
Giving the child diazepam (Valium) when illness or fever begins can reduce the risk of having another febrile seizure.
- However, to prevent one febrile seizure in this way, 14 other children who were never destined to have another febrile seizure will receive the medicine needlessly!
- 3 10 children treated with diazepam have troublesome side effects, such as sleepiness, irritability, and poor coordination, that may last for several days.
If your child has frequent febrile seizures, talk to your health care team about the best approach to prevent or treat seizures.
What's the outlook?
Among children who have their first febrile seizure before their first birthday, half will have at least one more. Among children who are older than 1 year when the first seizure occurs, about 1 in 4 will have more.
The long-term outlook is excellent, however. The vast majority of children with febrile seizures do not have seizures without fever after age 5.
What are the risks for developing epilepsy later?
- Problems with the child's development before the febrile seizure
- Having complex or complicated febrile seizures that last longer than 15 minutes, more than one seizure in 24 hours, or seizures in which only one side of the body is affected
- Seizures without fever in a parent or a brother or sister
How do those risks factor into the chance my child will develop epilepsy?
- If the child has none of these risk factors, the chances of epilepsy developing later are only 1% to 2% (1 or 2 100). This is very similar to the risk of developing epilepsy in any other child.
- Children with 1 of these risk factors have a 2.5% (1 in 40) chance of later epilepsy.
- For children with 2 or 3 risk factors, their chance of developing epilepsy later ranges from 5% (1 in 20) to over 10% (greater than 1 in 10).
- In rare cases, febrile seizures that last more than 30 minutes may cause scar tissue in the temporal lobe of the brain. In some of these children, chronic epilepsy develops.
If you have concerns about your child's febrile seizures, consider consulting a pediatric neurologist or epileptologist.
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.