Get access

Quality of sleep, fatigue and daytime sleepiness in migraine— a controlled study


Christian Wöber, MD, Department of Neurology, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, 1090 Vienna, Austria. Tel. + 43-14-0400-3117, fax + 43-14-0400-3141, e-mail


The objective of this study was to evaluate whether the quality of sleep and the degree of fatigue and daytime sleepiness are related to migraine. We investigated 489 subjects comprising 97 patients with eight or more, 77 patients with five to seven and 196 patients with one to four migraine days per month, and 119 migraine-free controls with fewer than six headache days per year. The patients were recruited via articles in newspapers not stressing the subject of the study. All participants underwent a semistructured interview and completed the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), the Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS), the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and the Self-rating Depression Scale and the Self-rating Anxiety Scale. For statistical analysis we used two way manovas, post hoc univariate two-way anovas and Hochberg's GT2 tests as well as three-way mixed design anovas. The PSQI total score was highest in patients with frequent migraine (5.9 ± 4.3) and lowest in controls (4.3 ± 2.5, P = 0.04). Four subscores of the PSQI showed similar statistically significant differences. The FSS and ESS scores did not differ in the four study groups. Analysing depression and anxiety revealed a significant impact on PSQI, FSS and ESS, but did not demonstrate interactions with migraine, thus suggesting that the impact of migraine is similar in patients without and with psychiatric comorbidity. In conclusion, the quality of sleep is decreased in patients with migraine, whereas fatigue and daytime sleepiness do not differ from healthy controls. The decreased quality of sleep in migraineurs is also a consequence of migraine itself and cannot be explained exclusively by comorbidity with depression or anxiety.