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Migraines Impact Sleep Quality and REM Sleep, Study Finds

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Sarah Shoen

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Those who experience migraines may attest to their debilitating effects. Similar to the effects of other head pain like hypnic headaches or morning headaches, migraines can also impact an individual’s sleep. Sleep deprivation, for example, has been linked to an increase in severity and frequency of migraines.

To better understand the relationship between sleep and migraine, a recent meta-analysis published in Neurology explored migraine sufferers’ perceived sleep quality as well as their sleep architecture, which is how a person’s brain proceeds through sleep stages over the course of a night.

For this meta-analysis, Jan Hoffmann, MD, PhD, of King’s College London and researchers surveyed more than 10,000 people by tracking their sleep quality through questionnaires, such as the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). They also tracked total sleep time and REM cycles using sleep aids.

Their analysis suggested that people who experience migraines may achieve less REM sleep than people who don’t have migraines. Migraine sufferers may also experience diminished subjective sleep quality.

“. . . people who experience migraines may achieve less REM sleep than people who don’t have migraines.”

Significantly higher scores on the PSQI suggest people felt like they were sleeping worse than their healthy counterparts. Also, the sleep architecture of migraine sufferers was altered: they displayed lower percentages of total sleep time in REM sleep than the healthy control group.

    Additionally, when examining the data surrounding children’s sleep habits while suffering from migraines, researchers found they had less total sleep time, more wake time, and shorter time for sleep onset than children without migraines.

    Researchers noted that “these findings highlight that sleep should play an integrated role in migraine treatment … and the importance of assessing and treating sleep as an integrated part of migraine treatment.”

    Further studies should analyze the relationship between migraine and perceived sleep as well as sleep architecture.

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    About Our Editorial Team

    author
    Sarah Shoen

    News Writer

    Sarah has covered news topics for digital and print publications. She holds a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Nevada.

    About Our Editorial Team

    author
    Sarah Shoen

    News Writer

    Sarah has covered news topics for digital and print publications. She holds a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Nevada.

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