Poor Sleep Quality Prevalent Among Patients with Probable Migraine, Study Finds

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Previous research has revealed that poor sleep quality is common among those with migraine. New study results point to similar findings for those with probable migraine—a subtype of migraine that is common in the general population.

Previous research has revealed that poor sleep quality is common among those with migraine and is also associated with an exacerbation of migraine symptoms; however, there is minimal research on the prevalence and clinical implication of poor sleep quality among those who experience probable migraine (PM)—a subtype of migraine that is common in the general population. A recent study examined this association, finding that poor sleep quality was prevalent among those with PM.

“PM is classified when one of diagnostic criteria of migraine in the third edition of the international classification of headache disorders is not applicable,” explained the researchers. “Probable migraine affects approximately 5% to 10% of the general population. It causes significant amount of disability owing to its symptoms, such as migraine”

The study involved a 2-stage cluster random sampling that performed a survey for sleep and headache in the Korean general population. Surveys were conducted by door-to-door visits and in-person interviews with a structured questionnaire, covering information regarding characteristics of headache, sleep, anxiety, and depression. The researchers considered patients as having poor sleep quality if the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index score was greater than 5.


Of the total 2695 participants, the researchers found that 379 (14.1%) had PM and 715 (26.5%) had poor sleep quality. In the PM group, the prevalence of poor sleep was 35.4%, compared to 47.6% in the migraine group and 21.4% in the non-headache group. Additionally, PM individuals with poor sleep quality also showed increased headache frequency and headache intensity when compared to PM participants who did not have poor sleep quality.

Based on the results of the study, the researchers suggested strategies to improve the evaluation and treatment for poor sleep quality in PM management. Because anxiety, depression, and headache frequency were independent factors associated with poor sleep quality in those with PM, the researchers suggest they be managed by pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments.

Furthermore, the researchers noted that headache frequency can be reduced by preventive pharmacological treatment and non-pharmacological treatments such as relaxation techniques, CBT, education, and mindfulness.

“Although the prevalence of poor sleep quality was lower in participants with PM than that in migraineurs, prevalence remained high in those with PM. It was associated with worse symptoms of PM,” concluded the researchers. “Our results suggest that appropriate diagnostic approach and management of poor sleep quality are necessary to manage PM appropriately.”


Song T, Cho S, Kim W, et al. Poor sleep quality in migraine and probable migraine: a population study. J Headache Pain. doi: