BLACK VOICES
11/02/2011 08:20 am ET | Updated Jan 02, 2012

Rick Ross Blames Lack Of Sleep For Seizures. What's The Connection?

Rapper Rick Ross opened up on BET's "106 & Park" yesterday, discussing, for the first time, the two seizures he suffered on an October 14th flight to Memphis. "It was a case of me not getting enough rest, enough sleep," he said.

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According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, seizures are often triggered by factors such as lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, and stress. For women, hormonal changes associated with the menstrual cycle can also act as a trigger.

While these seizure triggers do not cause epilepsy, they can cause breakthrough seizures in people who otherwise experience good seizure control with their medication. "Sleep deprivation in particular is a universal and powerful trigger of seizures," NINDS says.

The National Sleep Foundation explains, at greater length, the inherent relationship between sleep and epilepsy:

Sleep activates the electrical charges in the brain that result in seizures and seizures are timed according to the sleep wake cycle. For some people, seizures occur exclusively during sleep. This is especially true for a particular type of epilepsy known as benign focal epilepsy of childhood, also known as Rolandic epilepsy. When seizures occur during sleep, they may cause awakenings that are sometimes confused with insomnia. Epilepsy patients are often unaware of the seizures that occur while they sleep. They may suffer for years from daytime fatigue and concentration problems without ever knowing why.

For people with epilepsy, sleep problems are a double-edged sword; epilepsy disturbs sleep and sleep deprivation aggravates epilepsy.

"For this reason, people with epilepsy should make sure to get enough sleep and should try to stay on a regular sleep schedule as much as possible," NINDS recommends.

Rick Ross says he hasn't had a good night's sleep in 5 years. And although his doctor has given him a clean bill of health, Ross says he's making room for naps, according to TMZ.