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Cluster headache and insomnia

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#1 Mon, 06/02/2017 - 20:49
DavidH 7
Last seen: 5 months 1 week ago
Joined: 26/02/2014 - 15:13

Cluster headache and insomnia

My Cluster Headaches are usually preceded by a fairly ridiculous bout of insomnia, usually lasting a month or so.

This time, however, they were preceded by one night's bad insomnia before the attacks hit.

I now seem to be towards the end of a cycle (I can manage the pain without treatment) but am experiencing appalling insomnia.

Flicking through the internet, there does seem to be some correlation between disturbed sleep and Cluster Headache (other than being woken by pain). 

Do others experience this and how do you treat/manage this?  "Z drugs" seem next to useless as do prescribed benzos.



Tue, 07/02/2017 - 07:47
Last seen: 6 years 7 months ago
Joined: 26/02/2014 - 14:35

Hi David
Although I can't recall Insomnia preceding a bout when I was ECH many years ago, Insomnia certainly was a problem during bout and as a Chronic sufferer, even now in remission I can't quite get a good nights solid sleep!
The main reason for me has always been the fear of the next attack, knowing that sleep will bring on an attack (normally within 20 minutes), high caffeine levels etc all contribute to the problem. Another less spoken about reason is the depression that often accompanies Cluster headaches, there has been quite a lot of research that also places the psychological effects of CH in the Ptsd spectrum as the violent pain experienced in each individual attack is according to the civilian ptsd guidelines traumatic, an area that maybe needs exploring more to further understand the impact CH has on lives!
Just as an after thought the Insomnia preceding a bout... Possibly the sub-concious mind warning you a bout is on its way?

Tue, 26/09/2017 - 22:49
DavidH 7
Last seen: 5 months 1 week ago
Joined: 26/02/2014 - 15:13

I've recently read an article in the Observer about the poor health outcomes associated with insomnia and other sleep disorders (related to Dr Matthew Walker's book on the subject).  Some Googling led me to Dr Nicholas Silver, a doctor interested in Cluster Headaches and associated sleep disorders.  His biography notes that he has received recognition from OUCH.

Anyone know anything about his work around, specifically, CH and sleep disorders?

Wed, 27/09/2017 - 10:27
Last seen: 1 day 3 hours ago
Joined: 21/03/2012 - 15:16

Hello David

Not familiar with Dr Silver's work on sleep disorders, but he is very well known to OUCH (UK) and sufferers and is a great support and advocate in CH matters.  I've tried unsuccessfully to find any articles/papers authored by him on sleep disorders, but if we find anything we'll post a link up here for you. 

Dr Alex Nesbit of the Surrey Sleep research centre has authored these articles which might interest you:



Hope this helps.  Keep an eye on mailshots on OUCH events,  Dr  Silver does speak at some of our events and we always offer an opportunity to ask questions of our experts.


Sun, 01/04/2018 - 11:23
Last seen: 3 years 3 months ago
Joined: 26/02/2014 - 14:35

Hello David,

I find your comment interesting.  During this current bout, I find myself waking a few minutes ahead of an attach and wonder that it's not the pain that wakes me but something else.  I get one about an hour or two after falling asleep and then three-four hourly thereafter.  I was wondering if the onset of an attach has something to do with a mental rising out of a sleep wave into consciousness.  The altered state of rising into wakefullness being the trigger for an attack.  I just can't see why an attack should follow waking for any other reason.

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