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Migraine Coma?

When I have a migraine coming, and often during, I have an unshakable desire for sleep, and I will go into the weirdest sleep where I am vaguely aware of what is going on around me, but otherwise I'm in a sleep/coma. I've searched and searched, but I haven't heard anyone else talk about it. It happens whether or not I've had any medications. I've often thought it is my brain just shutting down because of the pain/ pressure/synaptic overload. It lasts for several hours and repeats throughout the migraine. Any ideas?

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  1. Hi how are you doing? You ask a very great question that many others in the community have also experienced. By any chance have you had an opportunity to discuss these symptoms with your medical provider? Others within the community have shared that they have experienced sleep paralysis in addition to migraine. Here is an article from the American Sleep Association about sleep paralysis that might be of interest to you: https://www.sleepassociation.org/sleep-disorders/more-sleep-disorders/sleep-paralysis/. -Lawrence (Migraine.com Team)

    1. I experience something similar, except that I become completely unaware of my surroundings and no one can wake me. I am going back to grad school and, in studying neuroscience, I began to wonder if this has something to do with the reticular activating system in the brain stem that controls attention/awareness/consciousness.

      I found one brief reference to this in Oliver Sacks’ book titled Migraine on page 68:
      “Migrainous syncope is never of abrupt onset and offset, like a petit mal attack; the patient sinks into it over the course of a few minutes, and regains his faculties in the same gradual fashion. It is convenient to recognise three stages in this context: first a state of torpor and lethargy; secondly, a state of stupor in which the patient may suffer “forced” thought and imagery, generally with an unpleasant quality....; thirdly, a state of coma, which is likely to be accompanied by incontinence, and, very occasionally, by seizure-activity.”

      1. Hi, grammayumyum! I wish you lots of luck and success in grad school -- you will be an asset to the neuro world with your personal experiences! How long is your program?

        If you find it relevant to your situation or your studies, it might be helpful to connect with the folks at our sister site, www.Sleep-Disorders.net. They just launched earlier this summer and maybe they can offer some perspective -- of course, syncope and sleep are two different animals, but who knows?

        Glad you're here. Keep us posted. -Melissa, migraine.com team

      2. Thanks for your response. I do have a sleep disorder, but not one addressed by the sister site. I have REM sleep behavior disorder, where I physically and verbally act out my dreams. I’m told it’s often a precursor to Parkinson’s.

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