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Can You Get Migraines From Lack Of Sleep

If Youve Been Waking Up Every Morning With A Headache This Is Less Likely From A Brain Tumor And More Likely From Your Brain Not Getting Enough Oxygen

Though waking up with a headache on a recurring basis can, indeed, be caused by a brain tumor, this symptom is more likely to be the result of a common condition that affects men and women, all ages and all sizes – whether obese, skinny or smack in-between.

The condition is obstructive sleep apnea, in which the upper airway collapses during sleep.

YES, skinny women can have obstructive sleep apnea. This disorder of sleep-related breathing is one of the most misdiagnosed and under-diagnosed of all medical conditions.

Doctors Explain Why You’re More Likely To Get Headaches When You’re Sleep Deprived

Whether you always struggle to sleep or you’re just going through a particularly rough patch, missing out on those precious hours of shut-eye can drain you mentally and physically. If feeling fatigued and irritable weren’t enough, you may also notice that you get headaches more frequently when you don’t get enough sleep. Neurologists say there’s a clear link between the two, so you officially have another reason to prioritize getting those seven to nine hours each night.

“Lack of sleep from any cause — including insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, periodic limb movements, and circadian rhythm disorders — can trigger headaches,” Gretchen Tietjen, MD, a board-certified neurologist and professor of neurology at the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences, told POPSUGAR. She also noted that sleep disorders are common among people who have existing headache disorders such as migraines, tension-type headache, and cluster headache.

There’s science to explain the connection. “Sleep promotes proper functioning of the glymphatic system, which clears waste products from the brain,” Dr. Tietjen said. “This is protective against headaches.” According to Robert Dias, MD, a board-certified neurologist and sleep medicine expert at Dignity Health Mercy Medical Group, sleep deprivation can also cause headaches “by various mechanisms involving chemical and physiological processes in the brain, which include alterations in metabolic, endocrine, and hormonal factors.”

Here Are 12 Of The Most Common Side Effects Of Too Much Caffeine Consumption:

1. Moodiness

2. Insomnia

3. Inability to focus

4. Overwhelming fatigue

5. Digestive upset or constipation

6. High blood pressure and a fast heart rate

7. Acidic Stomach and/or heartburn

8. Headaches

9. Nausea and loss of hunger

11. Jitters

12. Eye twitching

These symptoms are only some of the most common, but long-term consumption of caffeine can lead to severe digestive problems, depression, and mineral loss that leads to malabsorption of nutrients in the body. Adrenal fatigue is also commonly caused by high caffeine consumption. Long-term abuse of caffeine can even lead to weak bones due to the loss of minerals such as calcium and magnesium that assist with bone health. The list of terrible side effects of high caffeine consumption are almost limitless. Luckily, caffeine is a legal drug that is easier to wean yourself off than most are.

If you are suffering from any of these terrible side effects from high caffeine consumption, immediately begin to reduce your intake of all sources of caffeine, or at least evaluate what you’re consuming each day to find out how much caffeine you might be consuming to begin with. Be aware that weaning yourself off of caffeine is not easy and may involve a period of withdrawals. There’s also no need to completely cut out all sources of caffeine from your diet, but you should start with those most detrimental to your health such as soda, diet pills, and too many over-the-counter medications.

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Here Are Some Of The Most Commonly Consumed Sources Of Caffeine:

Do You Get A Migraine from Lack of Sleep?

  • soda
  • many over the counter sports aids
  • pain relievers

While most of us are aware of these sources of caffeine, it’s easy to go about the day and forget how much we’re actually consuming. We may have a couple cups of coffee in the morning, some tea later on in the day, a square of dark chocolate after lunch or dinner, and our favorite pre-workout before we hit the gym. Or maybe you’re dragging through your day and you decide to grab an energy drink and pop a few over-the- counter pills to take care of a lingering headache. These daily habits may seem harmless but can lead to some pretty terrible side effects of high caffeine consumption.

Can You Relate 8 Community Members Share Their Migraine Triggers

Migraine Healthline community members share their most common, confusing, and frustrating migraine triggers.

If you live with migraine, you can likely relate to the frustration of not knowing what is to blame for your attacks.

While doctors and healthcare researchers aren’t sure exactly what causes migraine, they do know that there are many factors or triggers that can induce a migraine episode.

Migraine triggers can be difficult to identify. It can often take people with migraine many years to figure out their triggers.

For many people, migraine episodes aren’t provoked by one specific trigger, but by a combination of factors.

Common factors believed to contribute to migraine attacks include lack of sleep, stress, dehydration, and changes in hormones.

Many people also find that certain foods may impact the frequency or severity of migraine episodes.

In addition, the timing and amount of food you eat — particularly, fasting or not eating frequently enough — may trigger a migraine.

If you believe your diet may be contributing to your migraine attacks, speaking to a registered dietitian or keeping a food diary can help you start to narrow down what your trigger foods may be.

There are also several apps for tracking migraine symptoms and triggers that can also help you get to the bottom of what is causing your attacks.

It’s The Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Cycle That Provokes Migraines

Doctor Vincent Fortanasce says it’s the REM sleep stage that provokes migraines.

Dr. Fortanasce is a Los Angeles-based neurologist, psychiatrist, and author of the Anti-Alzheimer’s Prescription. He says that REM sleep can provoke your most powerful migraine about five to six hours after sleep begins.

He says that “most of us go through about six sleep cycles with about four stages of sleep, plus rapid eye movement sleep. The deepest stages of sleep are necessary for the production of sufficient serotonin and dopamine, both neurotransmitters.

These neurotransmitters are the “feel good” chemical messengers in the brain, and both depend on adequate sleep; a decrease in serotonin and dopamine is associated with poor sleep or sleep problems.

One reason for waking with migraines is that REM sleep is most powerful just before awakening. Sleep problems can then trigger migraines by causing instability of serotonin and a lowering of dopamine levels.

Antidepressants, specifically the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors , may help stabilize serotonin membranes and block migraines. These medications are sometimes used as migraine treatment.”

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How To Stop A Headache From Lack Of Sleep: Tips From An Expert

This article was co-authored by Alex Dimitriu, MD. Alex Dimitriu, MD is the Owner of Menlo Park Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine, a clinic based in the San Francisco Bay Area with expertise in psychiatry, sleep, and transformational therapy. Alex earned his Doctor of Medicine from Stony Brook University in 2005 and graduated from the Stanford University School of Medicine’s Sleep Medicine Residency Program in 2010. Professionally, Alex has dual board certification in psychiatry and sleep medicine.There are 18 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 15,185 times.

Ugh—having a headache from a lack of sleep is the worst! Not only is your head pounding, but you’re also exhausted at the same time. The best solution to clear up your headache, of course, is to get some good rest. But there are plenty of other things you can do to help get rid of your headache, or at least make it more bearable until you’re able to sleep it off. If you find that you keep getting headaches, you can try taking preventative measures. But if you can’t get any relief, or if your symptoms are too severe, get to a doctor for treatment.

Migraine While Sleeping: Do Your Sleep Habits Trigger Attacks

Who doesn’t crave a good night’s sleep after a long day? Sleep is a different experience for every individual. While most people feel refreshed and energetic after a long and deep sleep, others feel lethargic – especially if you’ve been battling a Migraine attack.

You might assume that we are either partially or completely unconscious in the state of sleep. But in reality, our neurological systems involved in sleep are highly conscious. Among the many health related issues caused by bad sleeping habits, the most common one is headache or more precisely, Migraine.

But before moving on, let’s first find out if you have Migraine or another type of a headache.

Examining The Relationship Between Migraines And Sleep Habits

While all of these headache types are triggered by certain factors, unhealthy sleep habits, in particular, can elevate the severity of Migraine.

A study in the journal Headache explores the relationship between sleep and Migraine. To study the effects of an attack on sleep, 147 women who were suffering from a Migraine attack were interviewed. Not a single candidate reported feeling rejuvenated after waking up. They all complained about disturbed sleep due to the throbbing pain. But a second study published revealed that the patients felt lowered intensity and more infrequent occurrence of the migraines when they changed their sleep habits.

Though Obesity Is A Major Risk Factor So Are The Following:

• Smoking

• Alcohol intake close to bedtime

• TMJ disorder

• Naturally surplus pharyngeal tissue

• Naturally small upper airway

• Naturally large tongue base

As you can see, these six elements can easily occur in younger, thin women, not just obese, middle age men.

A much less common form of sleep apnea, called central, can also cause morning headaches.

In central SA, the problem isn’t caused by a collapsed upper airway, but instead, the brain “forgets” to send the signal to breathe.

Furthermore, not all people with untreated sleep apnea snore.

With this condition, one stops breathing on an average of at least five times an hour. In severe cases the apnea episodes can run into the hundreds overnight.

The Difference Between Migraines And Sleep Apnea Headaches

    Can sleep apnea cause headaches? Yes.  Sleep apnea headaches in the morning are just one common side-effect of the syndrome. In fact, 50% of those who wake up with headaches are believed to have sleep apnea.

    Headaches are most commonly experienced by patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea when the oxygen level drops due to the intermittent breathing caused by obstructive sleep apnea . Sleep apnea causes air to be trapped in the lungs, and this de-oxygenated air is the waste product carbon dioxide. It builds up in the lungs and recycles into the bloodstream.  This lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, along with a build-up of carbon dioxide, negatively affects the brain and leads to sleep apnea headaches.

    According to Dr. Mark Edward Abramson, sleep apnea and TMJ specialist with the California Center for Craniomandibular Disorders, it is this increased level of carbon dioxide that causes the headache.  He explains, “Carbon dioxide as it rises causes the blood vessels in and around the head to dilate. This dilation results in a migraine-like headache that is throbbing and irritating. There are some important differences between sleep apnea headaches and migraines, though.”

    What Types Of Headache Are Associated With Serious Illness

    Doctors Explain Why You

    The child may have varying degrees of symptoms associated with the severity of the headache depending on the type of headache. Some headaches may be more serious. Symptoms that may suggest a more serious underlying cause of the headache may include the following:

    • A very young child with a headache

    • A child that is awakened by the pain of a headache

    • Headaches that start very early in the morning

    • Pain that is worsened by strain, such as a cough or a sneeze

    • Recurrent episodes of vomiting without nausea or other signs of a stomach virus

    • Sudden onset of pain and the “worst headache” ever

    • Headache that is becoming more severe or continuous

    • Personality changes that have occurred as the headache syndrome evolved

    • Changes in vision

    The symptoms of a headache may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child’s doctor for a diagnosis.

    Oversleeping Can Also Increase Your Migraine Risk

    Oversleeping can trigger migraine attacks because it disrupts the sleep-wake cycle. And this may lead to migraine headaches for various reasons. One way it may do so is through changes in the level of neurotransmitters in the brain. During REM sleep, neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin are released. If oversleeping interrupts the normal functioning of these neurotransmitters, then it could result in headaches. Elizabeth McDevitt of the Sleep and Cognition Lab at UC Riverside states:

    “The mechanism behind this isn’t understood that well, and one hypothesis is that fluctuations in neurotransmitters during sleep may be a trigger for headaches. Another possibility is that when people sleep later in the morning, they may be sleeping past their normal breakfast or coffee time, and the headaches may be related to caffeine withdrawals, low blood sugar, or dehydration.”

    This is how migraines can sometimes start during sleep. If you oversleep and experience withdrawals from caffeine, low blood sugar, or dehydration, your migraine symptoms could begin during the end of your sleep. This is why you might wake up with a pounding headache, as well as other migraine symptoms, such as nausea and hypersensitivity to light and sound.

    The Connection Between Migraine And Sleep Habits

    The connection between sleep habits and migraines is still being determined.

    The REM sleep abnormalities have definitely been implicated in a variety of problems.

    If your physician feels that you might have sleep problems such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, insomnia or other sleep problems, he/she might want to do a sleep study or other tests that would help he/she to determine exactly what the problem is.

    Common sense, if the problem can be corrected or treated, then your migraines may improve.

    If pain is one of the symptoms of your condition, lack of sleep can make it worse, research shows. A 2015 study of more than 10,000 Norwegian adults published in the journal Pain found that those who reported insomnia more than once a week had a 52 percent higher sensitivity to pain than those who never had trouble sleeping.

    ~ The Healthy Brain

    Throbbing Pain On One Or Both Sides Of The Head

    Pulsating pain is a classic sign of migraines. The throbbing is often felt on one side of the head.

    In an online survey of patients with migraines, the National Headache Foundation found that 50% “always” have throbbing on one side, while 34% say they “frequently” have this symptom.

    Migraine pain often burrows behind the eye.

    People will blame it on eye strain and many will get their eyes checked, but that won’t make their headaches any better, Dr. Messina says.

    Can Other Sleeping Problems Trigger Migraines

    Research has found that not only too little sleep , but also too much sleep can trigger migraines. While restful sleep can relieve migraine symptoms while they are ongoing, sleeping extensively may make problems worse. The term “weekend migraine” is often used to refer to migraines that commonly occur in individuals sleeping in on weekends to make up for lost sleep during the week.

    The relationship between sleep deprivation and migraines is also bidirectional. This means that sleep disturbances can trigger migraines, but migraines can also negatively impact our sleep. Migraines can leave us feeling exhausted and excessively sleepy, which may disrupt our sleep-wake cycle.

    What You Can Do To Manage Your Sleep Problems

    There are things you can do to better manage your sleep problems with your migraine attacks:

    • Keep your room dark and cool .
    • Try taking melatonin or magnesium. The most common doses are: 3 mgs of melatonin; 200 mgs of magnesium glycinate am and pm so 400 mgs per day. I’ve written more about that here – Which Magnesium is Best for Migraine Relief 
    • Eliminate caffeine from your diet.
    • Get regular exercise, preferably in the morning – try to get outside into the sunshine. This will balance your circadian rhythm too. 
    • Eat a light supper at least three hours before going to bed.
    • Some experts recommend eating a bedtime snack, which is high in carbohydrates. This should help you to induce sleep by increasing the levels of serotonin. I recommend something more balanced with carbohydrate, protein and a little fat. .
    • Turn off lights 2 hours before bedtime.
    • Turn off laptop a few hours before bedtime.
    • Turn off TV at least one hour before bedtime.

    If you must watch TV or be on your computer, then consider investing in some glasses that block out blue light – I have these ones – .

    And one last one… if you get a migraine from lack of sleep, pay attention to your sleeping position. Some people feel better with their head raised a little – up on a couple of pillows. Be sure NOT to sleep on your stomach, as this can create neck issues. 

    The Link Between Sleep Patterns And Migraines

    There are a number of factors that can put you at risk for developing migraines. One of those factors is your sleep patterns. A lack of sleep can cause you to develop migraines. A team of researchers at the University of Missouri found that sleep deprivation causes changes in the proteins that trigger and suppress chronic pain.

    Sleep deprivation can also raise P2X3 protein in the body. This is a protein that initiates chronic pain. Furthermore, the researchers found that a lack of sleep increases the expression of the PKA and P38 proteins. These proteins regulate the sensory response in the trigeminal nerves, which can play a role in migraine development.

    On the other hand, sleeping too much can also trigger migraines. Researchers have found that sleeping too much can alter certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin. Additionally, if you sleep too much during the day and change your sleep patterns at night, then this can lead to migraines.

    How Does Sleep Deprivation Trigger Migraines

    Additional research is needed to fully understand the relationship between sleep deprivation and migraines, however, they do share common brain mechanisms. For example, the hypothalamus — the part of the brain that regulates sleep and arousal — also contains neurons involved in modulating pain. The hypothalamus also contains the suprachiasmatic nucleus , which receives signals from our eyes and helps us match our sleeping behaviors to the external cycle of light and darkness outside. A damaged SCN may cause erratic daytime sleep and disrupt the sleep-wake cycle.

    Another key part of the brain involved in sleep is the pineal gland, which produces melatonin, the hormone that helps us fall asleep when we recognize the change between day and night. Low levels of melatonin have been linked to migraines and cluster headaches, as well as waking up with headaches.

    Light Noise Or Smells Trigger Or Worsen Pain

    10 signs and symptoms of migraine headache you SHOULD be ...

    In the throes of a migraine attack, the migraine sufferer tends to seek refuge in a dark, quiet place. Bright lights and loud noises can trigger a migraine or intensify the pain. The same is true of certain odors.

    “Once you’ve already got a migraine, smells can seem more intense and make it worse,” Dr. Calhoun says. “But a smell can also trigger a migraine in someone who didn’t have one before walked past the perfume counter.”

    You Think You’ve Fallen Asleep At The Wheel

    When you nod off for a few seconds without even knowing, it’s called micro-sleep. “The brain says, ‘I don’t care what you want to do. We are going to sleep,'” Dr. Winter says. It’s your body’s way of forcing you to get the rest you need. The big problem is that micro-sleep can be extremely dangerous if you happen to be driving. Between 2005 and 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 2.2% to 2.6% of total fatal crashes involved drowsy driving. If you ever feel overly sleepy on the road, a safer bet would be to pull over and rest until you feel up to taking the wheel again.

    What Happens When You Dont Get Enough Sleep

    Your doctor urges you to get enough sleep for good reason, Dr. Walia says.  Shorting yourself on shut-eye has a negative impact on your health in many ways:

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    Short-term problems can include:

    • Lack ofalertness. Even missing as little as 1.5 hours can have an impact on howyou feel.
    • Excessivedaytime sleepiness. It can make you very sleepy and tired during the day.
    • Impairedmemory. Lack of sleep can affect your ability to think, remember andprocess information.
    • Relationshipstress. It can make you feel moody and you can become more likely to haveconflicts with others.
    • Qualityof life. You may become less likely to participate in normal dailyactivities or to exercise.
    • Greaterlikelihood for car accidents. Drowsy driving accounts for thousands ofcrashes, injuries and fatalities each year, according to the National HighwayTraffic Safety Administration.

    If you continue to operate without enough sleep, you may seemore long-term and serious health problems. Some of the most serious potentialproblems associated with chronic sleep deprivation are high blood pressure,diabetes, heart attack, heart failure or stroke. Other potential problemsinclude obesity, depression, impairment in immunity and lower sex drive.

    So lack of sleep could mean more wrinkles! Understand whysleep is so important yet?

    Lack Of Sleep Can Trigger Migraine Proteins

    Dr. Michael Breus

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      Anyone who suffers from chronic headaches or worse, migraines, knows that lack of sleep can sometimes be the culprit. And anyone whose been victimized by a migraine also knows that losing sleep can be a trigger for these excruciating and often debilitating special types of headaches. I’ve talked about the connection between headaches and sleep—or lack thereof.

      Now we have more evidence that shows the link between sleep deprivation and migraines in particular: pain researchers from Missouri State University report that rats deprived of REM sleep showed changes in the expression of key proteins that suppress and trigger chronic pain.

      In other words, the quality of sleep was associated with whether or not the rats’ nervous system was aroused or shut down. At the center of this observation was the existence of specific proteins that orchestrate the nervous system’s arousal or suppression.

      In the study, the researchers deprived one group of rats of REM sleep for three consecutive nights while allowing another group to sleep normally.

      They found that the sleep deprivation caused increased expression of proteins p38 and PKA, which help regulate sensory response in facial nerves thought to play a key role in migraines, known as the trigeminal nerves.

      Lack of REM sleep also triggered increased expression of the P2X3 protein, which is linked to the initiation of chronic pain.

      Sweet Dreams,

      Dealing With Migraines And Sleep Disorders

      Research has shown that sleep problems such as insomnia, may actually be a trigger for migraines. When a migraine begins, the hyperactive nerve cells will send impulses to the blood vessels telling them to constrict. Along with this constriction comes a release of chemicals in the brain and an inflammatory substance, which actually causes the pain.

      In a study on migraine sufferers and their sleep habits, which was published in Headache, showed that there is evidence that good sleep reduces the intensity and the frequency of migraine headaches. With this study, 43 women received behavior sleep instructions or placebo instructions, along with the usual medical care. The results of the study showed that those who received the behavioral sleep instructions reported a significant reduction in both the severity and the number of headaches they were experiencing.

      If you feel that your sleep habits are affecting your migraines, the first thing you should do is keep a log or diary. Make a list of symptoms, when you have a migraine, medications taken, and anything else you feel the physician should be made aware of. How are your sleep habits? Do you have problems drifting off to sleep? Do you wake frequently and if so, is there a particular reason?

      No physician or anyone else can guarantee that improving your sleep will actually result in a decrease in your migraines.

      There are some practical ways to help with your sleep problems though:

      • Continue to work on your sleep habits.


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