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The Prevalence and Spectrum of Sleep Problems in Women With Transformed Migraine


  • Anne H. Calhoun MD,

  • Sutapa Ford PhD,

  • Alan G. Finkel MD,

  • Kevin A. Kahn MD,

  • J. Douglas Mann MD


This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: ERRATUM Volume 46, Issue 6, 1039, Article first published online: 24 May 2006

  • From the University of North Carolina, Neurology, Chapel Hill, NC.

Address all correspondence to Dr. Anne H. Calhoun, Campus Box 7025, The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7025.


Objectives.—It is our clinical observation that patients with transformed migraine (TM) almost invariably report nonrestorative sleep. In this study we sought first to validate that clinical observation, then to describe the prevalence and spectrum of factors that might contribute to nonrestorative sleep in a TM population.

Background.—Although headaches have been linked with sleep problems for over a century, there is little information about the spectrum or prevalence of specific sleep problems associated with TM in adults.

Methods.—We conducted a detailed sleep interview on 147 consecutive women with TM. Subjective sleep quality was assessed by asking patients to describe their state upon awakening as “refreshed” or “tired.”

Results.—None of the 147 patients reported awakening “refreshed,” and 83.7% stated that they awakened “tired.” Sleep complaints were prevalent and varied in this population.

Conclusions.—Although the relationship between pain and sleep is complex and ill understood, we found a very high prevalence of nonrestorative sleep and a similarly high prevalence of modifiable poor sleep habits in patients with TM. Since behavioral approaches have been found effective in improving sleep quality in patients with poor sleep hygiene, we propose that studies be undertaken to assess the impact of such treatment on TM.