We discuss the hypothesis proposed by Engstrom and coworkers that Migraineurs have a relative sleep deprivation, which lowers the pain threshold and predispose to attacks. Previous data indicate that Migraineurs have a reduction of Cyclic Alternating Pattern (CAP), an essential mechanism of NREM sleep regulation which allows to dump the effect of incoming disruptive stimuli, and to protect sleep. The modifications of CAP observed in Migraineurs are similar to those observed in patients with impaired arousal (narcolepsy) and after sleep deprivation. The impairment of this mechanism makes Migraineurs more vulnerable to stimuli triggering attacks during sleep, and represents part of a more general vulnerability to incoming stimuli.
- Cyclic alternating pattern
- Sleep deprivation