The Relationship Between Stage III + IV + REM Sleep and Arousals with Migraine


  • Supported in part by University of Missouri Medical Center General Clinical Research Center, NIH Division of Research Resources Grant RR-00287-12.



Three studies are presented investigating the relationship between sleep stages and the onset of migraine on awakening. Study I consists of the polygraphic recording of daytime naps in patients who suffer from sleep-precipitated migraine. All headache naps contained Stages III, IV or REM Sleep.

The second study is that of serotonin levels during napping in which serotonin levels were stable during naps in which only Stages I and II were recorded. During naps when Stages III, IV or REM Sleep were recorded, there was considerable variation in serotonin levels.

The final study is that of nocturnal sleep periods associated with morning awakening with headache or the onset of headache within 1 hour. The results of this study show an association between nights of increased Stage III + IV + REM sleep and those mornings when headaches occur.