Individuals who experience insomnia may be more likely to have migraine and non-migraine headache compared with those without insomnia, according to a study published in the Journal of Headache and Pain.

Researchers obtained patient data from the Korean Headache-Sleep Study, a population-based survey, from which they analyzed data from 2695 Korean adults. An Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) score ≥10 (n=290) indicated the presence of insomnia, and the occurrence of migraine without aura was defined based on criteria A to D of the International Classification of Headache Disorders, third edition beta version (n=143).

A greater percentage of participants with vs without insomnia were found to be more likely to have migraine (12.8% vs 4.4%, respectively; P <.001) and non-migraine headache (59.0% vs 39.9%, respectively; P <.001). Among study participants with insomnia, total ISI scores were comparable for individuals with migraine (median, 13.0; interquartile range [IQR], 11.0-17.5), participants without migraine (median, 13.0; IQR, 11.0-17.5), and participants without headache (median, 12.0; IQR, 11.0-16.0; P =.245). ISI scores for “noticeability of sleep problems to others” were higher among patients with vs without migraine (median, 3.0; IQR, 2.0-4.0 vs median, 2.0; IQR, 2.0-3.0, respectively; P =.011] and in patients with non-migraine headache vs those without headache (median, 3.0; IQR, 2.0-4.0 vs median, 2.0; IQR, 2.0-3.0, respectively; P =.001).

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Study limitations include the lack of information on whether participants were treated for insomnia, the limited generalizability because of the exclusively Korean cohort, and the relatively low overall response rate of the sample.

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“Our findings indicate that migraine and insomnia affect each other but their asymmetric causal relationship needs further investigation in future studies,” the investigators concluded.

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Kim J, Cho S-J, Kim W-J, Yang KI, Yun C-H, Chu MK. Impact of migraine on the clinical presentation of insomnia: a population-based study. J Headache Pain. 2018;19(1):86.