A sleep study in cluster headache

G. Della Marca, C. Vollono, M. Rubino, A. Capuano, G. Di Trapani, P. Mariotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cluster headache (CH) is a primary headache with a close relation to sleep. CH presents a circa-annual rhythmicity; attacks occur preferably during the night, in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and they are associated with autonomic and neuroendocrine modifications. The posterior hypothalamus is the key structure for the biological phenomenon of CH. Our aim is to describe a 55-year-old man presenting a typical episodic CH, in whom we performed a prolonged sleep study, consisting of a 9-week actigraphic recording and repeated polysomnography, with evaluation of both sleep macrostructure and microstructure. During the acute bout of the cluster we observed an irregular sleep-wake pattern and abnormalities of REM sleep. After the cluster phase these alterations remitted. We conclude that CH was associated, in this patient, with sleep dysregulation involving the biological clock and the arousal mechanisms, particularly in REM. All these abnormalities are consistent with posterior hypothalamic dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-294
Number of pages5
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


  • Actigraphy
  • Arousal
  • Cluster headache
  • Polysomnography
  • Posterior hypothalamus
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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