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Disturbed sleep in cluster headache is not the result of transient processes associated with the cluster period

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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Cluster headache (CH) is characterized by severe, unilateral attacks of pain and a high nocturnal attack burden. It remains unknown whether perturbations of sleep are solely present during the CH bout. Therefore, we aimed to investigate differences in sleep between the bout and remission period in patients with episodic CH and, secondly, to compare patients in the two phases with controls.

METHODS: Patients with episodic CH (aged 18-65 years), diagnosed according to the International Classification of Headache Disorders 2nd edition, were admitted for polysomnography at the Danish Center for Sleep Medicine in bout and in remission. The macrostructure of sleep, including arousals, breathing parameters, limb movements and periodic limb movements, was compared with 25 age-, sex- and body mass index-matched healthy controls.

RESULTS: There were no differences in any of the sleep parameters for patients in bout (n = 32) compared with patients in remission (n = 23). Attacks were unrelated to sleep stages, presence of apnea episodes, periodic limb movements, limb movements and arousals. In bout, patients had longer sleep latency (18.8 vs. 11.7 min, P < 0.05) and rapid eye movement sleep latency (1.7 vs. 1.2 h, P < 0.05) than controls and sleep efficiency was lower (82.5% vs. 86.5%, P < 0.05). Patients in remission only had a longer sleep latency compared with controls (17.5 vs. 11.7 min, P < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: The results support the presence of a continuing or slowly recovering disturbance of sleep outside the bout rather than a disturbance occurring secondary to attacks. Further, we confirm that there is no relation between CH attacks and specific sleep stages or between CH and breathing parameters.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Volume26
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)290-298
Number of pages9
ISSN1351-5101
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

ID: 56595729