Nightmares in Migraine: A Focused Review
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Nightmares usually occur during the sleep phase of rapid eye movement (REM) and are associated with some physical symptoms, including sweating, shortness of breath, and lower limb movements. Emotions of fear, anger, shame, and sadness may also accompany nightmares. These symptoms can occur during dreaming, upon awakening, or later when the dream experience is recollected. Nightmares may sporadically occur for everyone, but nightmare disorders are associated with features of impaired mental and physical health and require professional medical treatment. The occurrence of nightmares with several disorders has been reported in the literature, but in migraines it has only been investigated in a small number of studies. Considering the existing relationship between sleep disorders and migraine, the occurrence of nightmares in migraine can negatively affect this association and elevate the risk of depression and anxiety. This, in turn, further reduces the quality of life of affected individuals. Hence, expanding the knowledge on the link between nightmares and migraine, promoting an acceptable quantity and quality of sleep through pharmacological and nonpharmacological interventions in the management of nightmares in migraine, and further scientific investigation of the biopsychosocial mechanisms underlying the link, will be highly valuable for optimal care. This focused review, therefore, gives a brief overview of the current understanding of nightmares in migraine to highlight the open questions and value of further research. The ultimate goal is to contribute to timely recognition and sufficient action to offer beneficial outcomes for affected patients.