New York: Researchers have found that nearly half of all patients who suffer migraines report sleep disturbance as a trigger for their headaches.
The research team from Brigham and Women's Hospital in US conducted a study using objective measures of sleep to date to evaluate the relationship between sleep and migraine headaches.
The study's findings, published in the journal Neurology, generally support patients' reports of sleep disturbance as a trigger for migraines.
In the assessments and actigraphy measurements, the research team observed that sleep fragmentation - time spent in bed, but not asleep - was linked to migraine onset not on the next day but rather the day after that.
"Sleep is multi-dimensional, and when we look at certain aspects such as sleep, we found that low sleep efficiency, which is the amount of time you're awake in bed when you're trying to sleep, was associated with migraines not on the day immediately following, but on the day after that," said study researcher Suzanne Bertisch from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in US.
For the results, Bertisch and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study of 98 adults with episodic migraines, who reported at least two headaches, but had fewer than 15 days each month with a headache.
The participants completed electronic diaries twice a day, recording details about their sleep, headaches and health habits for six weeks.
During that time, they also wore a wrist actigraph to bed to objectively capture their sleep patterns.
The team adjusted data for other migraine triggers, including daily caffeine intake, alcohol intake, physical activity, stress and more.
Over the course of six weeks, participants reported 870 headaches. Nightly sleep duration of 6.5 hours or less and poor sleep quality were not associated with migraines the day immediately following (Day Zero) or the day after that (Day One).
However, sleep fragmentation measured by both diary and actigraphy were associated with higher odds of having a migraine on Day One, the study said.