Sleep disturbances and quality of life in Sub-Saharan African migraineurs

Isabel Morgan, Francisco Eguia, Bizu Gelaye, B. Lee Peterlin, Mahlet G. Tadesse, Seblewengel Lemma, Yemane Berhane, Michelle A. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Although in the past decade occidental countries have increasingly recognized the personal and societal burden of migraine, it remains poorly understood in Africa. No study has evaluated the impact of sleep disturbances and the quality of life (QOL) in sub-Saharan Africans with migraine.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study evaluating adults, ≥ 18 years of age, attending outpatient clinics in Ethiopia. Standardized questionnaires were utilized to collect demographic, headache, sleep, lifestyle, and QOL characteristics in all participants. Migraine classification was based on International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD)-II criteria. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and the World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL-BREF) questionnaires were utilized to assess sleep quality and QOL characteristics, respectively. Multivariable logistic regression models were fit to estimate adjusted odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).

Results: Of 1,060 participants, 145 (14%) met ICHD-II criteria for migraine. Approximately three-fifth of the study participants (60.5%) were found to have poor sleep quality. After adjustments, migraineurs had over a two-fold increased odds (OR = 2.24, 95% CI 1.49-3.38) of overall poor sleep quality (PSQI global score >5) as compared with non-migraineurs. Compared with non-migraineurs, migraineurs were also more likely to experience short sleep duration (≤7 hours) (OR = 2.07, 95% CI 1.43-3.00), long sleep latency (≥30 min) (OR = 1.97, 95% CI 1.36-2.85), daytime dysfunction due to sleepiness (OR = 1.51, 95% CI 1.12-2.02), and poor sleep efficiency (<85%) (OR = 1.93, 95% CI 1.31-2.88). Similar to occidental countries, Ethiopian migraineurs reported a reduced QOL as compared to non-migraineurs. Specifically Ethiopian migraineurs were more likely to experience poor physical (OR = 1.56, 95% CI 1.08-2.25) and psychological health (OR = 1.75, 95% CI 1.20-2.56), as well as poor social relationships (OR = 1.56, 95% CI 1.08-2.25), and living environments (OR = 1.41, 95% CI 0.97-2.05) as compared to those without migraine.

Conclusion: Similar to occidental countries, migraine is highly prevalent among Ethiopians and is associated with poor sleep quality and a lower QOL. These findings support the need for physicians and policy makers to take action to improve the quality of headache care and access to treatment in Ethiopia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Headache and Pain
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Ethiopia
  • Migraine
  • Quality of life
  • Sleep quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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    Morgan, I., Eguia, F., Gelaye, B., Peterlin, B. L., Tadesse, M. G., Lemma, S., Berhane, Y., & Williams, M. A. (2015). Sleep disturbances and quality of life in Sub-Saharan African migraineurs. Journal of Headache and Pain, 16(1), 1-8.