Chronic headache and potentially modifiable risk factors: screening and behavioral management of sleep disorders

Headache. 2008 Jan;48(1):32-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2007.00972.x.


Sleep-related variables have been identified among risk factors for frequent and severe headache conditions. It has been postulated that migraine, chronic daily headache, and perhaps other forms of chronic headache are progressive disorders. Thus, sleep and other modifiable risk factors may be clinical targets for prevention of headache progression or chronification. The present paper is part of the special series of papers entitled "Chronification of Headache" describing the empirical evidence, future research directions, proposed mechanisms, and risk factors implicated in headache chronification as well as several papers addressing individual risk factors (ie, sleep disorders, medication overuse, psychiatric disorders, stress, obesity). Understanding the link between risk factors and headache may yield novel preventative and therapeutic approaches in the management of headache. The present paper in the special series reviews epidemiological research as a means of quantifying the relationship between chronic headache and sleep disorders (sleep-disordered breathing, insomnia, circadian rhythm disorders, parasomnias) discusses screening for early detection and treatment of more severe and prevalent sleep disorders, and discusses fundamental sleep regulation strategies aimed at headache prevention for at-risk individuals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Disease Progression
  • Headache / epidemiology*
  • Headache / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / complications*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / psychology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy