Restless legs syndrome in migraine patients: Prevalence and severity

W. P J van Oosterhout, E. J W van Someren, M. A. Louter, G. G. Schoonman, G. J. Lammers, R. M. Rijsman, M. D. Ferrari, G. M. Terwindt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background and purpose: Our aim was to study not only the prevalence but more importantly the severity and the correlation between sleep quality and restless legs syndrome (RLS) in a large population of well-defined migraine patients as poor sleep presumably triggers migraine attacks. Methods: In a large cross-sectional and observational study, data on migraine and RLS were collected from 2385 migraine patients (according to the International Classification of Headache Disorders ICHD-IIIb) and 332 non-headache controls. RLS severity (International RLS Study Group severity scale) and sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index) were assessed. Risk factors for RLS and RLS severity were calculated using multivariable-adjusted regression models. Results: Restless legs syndrome prevalence in migraine was higher than in controls (16.9% vs. 8.7%; multivariable-adjusted odds ratio 1.83; 95% confidence interval 1.18-2.86; P = 0.008) and more severe (adjusted severity score 14.5 ± 0.5 vs. 12.0 ± 1.1; P = 0.036). Poor sleepers were overrepresented amongst migraineurs (50.1% vs. 25.6%; P < 0.001). Poorer sleep quality was independently associated with RLS occurrence (odds ratio 1.08; P < 0.001) and RLS severity (P < 0.001) in migraine patients. Conclusion: Restless legs syndrome is not only twice as prevalent but also more severe in migraine patients, and associated with decreased sleep quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1110-1116
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016

Cite this

van Oosterhout, W. P. J., van Someren, E. J. W., Louter, M. A., Schoonman, G. G., Lammers, G. J., Rijsman, R. M., ... Terwindt, G. M. (2016). Restless legs syndrome in migraine patients: Prevalence and severity. European Journal of Neurology, 23(6), 1110-1116.