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Migraine Frequency, Disability Linked With Poor Sleep

August 2, 2013


Posted: 07/30/2013 8:19 am EDT

A good night’s sleep may be extra-important for people who suffer from migraines, according to a new study in the journal Headache.

Researchers from the University of Mississippi found an association between bad quality sleep and frequency of headaches, as well as increased disability from headaches, among people who get migraines.

The study included 292 college students, 69.9 percent of whom were women, with an average age of 19, who were all screened for migraines. They reported their daytime sleepiness, sleep hygiene and sleep quality, and were also tested for depression and anxiety.

Researchers compared the students who got migraines with those who didn’t get migraines on their sleep habits. And among those who got migraines, they took note of the frequency and severity of headaches, as well as their levels of disability during a headache.

Ultimately, 26.7 percent of the study participants had episodic migraines. However, more people with migraines had worse sleep quality than those who don’t get migraines — 85.9 percent versus 62 percent.

Plus, among those who did get migraines, bad sleep quality was linked with frequency and disability of the headaches.

“Consistent with prior studies on chronic migraine, poor sleep quality is uniquely associated with episodic migraine, and this relationship is not solely attributable to comorbid psychiatric symptomatology,” the researchers wrote in the study.

Previously, a study that also appeared in the journal Headache suggested that good sleep habits could help decrease the number and intensity of headaches among migraineurs, WebMD reported. That study involved giving either behavioral sleep advice to female migraine sufferers, or placebo instructions.

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