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Cephalalgia. 1990 Aug;10(4):157-60.

Sleep deprivation headache.

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National Hospital for Nervous Diseases, Queen Square, London.


Headaches due to insufficient or interrupted sleep are generally labelled "tension headaches" of psychogenic origin. In 25 healthy subjects, variable amounts of sleep loss (1-3 h for 1-3 nights) caused headaches lasting from 1 h to all day. The headache was most frequently a dull ache, a heaviness or a pressure sensation felt in the forehead and/or at the vertex. Simple analgesics, purchaseable without a doctor's prescription, completely or markedly reduced the head pain in 20-60 min. Headaches due to insufficient sleep differ from tension headaches in their site, duration and response to analgesics. Assuming that pain implies a regional dysfunction, headaches caused by sleep loss provide support for the notion that sleep has a restorative function in the brain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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