Abstract Introduction: In order to define accurately the relationship between EEG components (spindles, delta and theta frequencies) and the occurrence of interictal epileptiform discharges (IED) during sleep in partial epilepsy, a correlation study between spike overnight distribution and EEG spectral power time series was performed. Methods: Eighteen patients (mean age: 24.7±5.5 years) affected by partial epilepsy underwent continuous EEG-polysomnography. The temporal series of Slow Wave Activity (SWA), Sigma Activity (SA) and Theta Band (TB), derived from spectral analysis, were obtained from a spike-free and pathologic alteration-free derivation, contralateral to the most active lead, where the IED count was performed. Relationships between SA, SWA and TB and time series of IED were tested by means of correlation techniques after data normalization. Results: Our results revealed a significantly higher correlation between IED and SWA in 12 subjects; a significantly higher correlation between IED and SA in three subjects and a significant correlation with TB in three cases. Conclusions: Data suggest that in most adult patients with partial epilepsy IED production during sleep is facilitated by the action of synchronizing mechanisms which are active during NREM sleep and lead to the appearance of EEG delta waves. Nevertheless evidence is given of two smaller groups of patients. In one of them IED are more sensitive to the promoting action of the spindle generating mechanism, active during stage 2 of NREM sleep. In the other one the promoting action of TB, characterizing EEG during stage 1 and REM sleep, is evident.