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How To Sleep With Migraine Headache

Create A Bedtime Ritual

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Choose a routine activity to do before bed thats also relaxing. Try to do this activity away from any stimuli such as bright lights, loud noises, or anything that can make you feel excited or stressed.

Every night, I do a bedtime meditation or listen to a sleep story on the Calm app. It helps to melt away stress, tension, and anxiety, and makes falling asleep a piece of cake.

Tips For Sleeping With Headaches

Now let’s take a look at some of the tips for sleeping with headaches. If you suffer from narcolepsy and you want to sleep peacefully at night with a headache, there are essential sleep routines you have to adopt.

This involves what you need to do before, during, and after sleep. To avoid poor sleep, which might lead to other disorders brought as a result of sleep deprivation, such as frequent insomnia, ensure that your sleep hygiene is on point.

These practices involve

Links To Sleep Disorders

Globally, chronic migraines are the second largest contributor to years lived with disability and are more prevalent than asthma, diabetes, and epilepsy combined. Despite this, migraines and headaches in general are one of the least funded diseases in the world.

What research has been done shows a relationship between sleep disorders and severe headaches. A study in South Korea not only showed an increase of headaches year by year but also a positive correlation between disorders and migraines, especially insomnia .

The Association between Migraine and Types of Sleep Disorder, MDPI

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Get A Good Night’s Sleep

If you work a shift job, ensure you’re sleeping for 6 to 8 hours a night to avoid sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. This will improve your sleep quality by a significant margin. Additionally, this can improve your immunity.

Lack of and irregular patterns of sleep are known to cause or trigger a chronic daily headache. Over long periods, you can suffer a chronic daily headache at varied intervals. Also, you’re at risk of developing chronic migraines.

If you have sleep apnea, insomnia or some other issue like an ear infection you might also experience headaches which further affects your sleep quality. Ensure you don’t oversleep, and you don’t sleep less than 6 hours. Note that if you’re suffering from hypnic headache , consult a sleep specialist since it manifests symptoms similar to migraine. The sleep specialist will help you distinguish and rule out migraine-related symptoms from those of hypnic headaches.

Migraine Triggers And The Smoking Gun

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The many well-established trigger factors for migraine implicate the role of the hypothalamus in migraine, such as acute psychological stress, a skipped meal, overexertion with overheating, and lack of sleep. For most migraineurs, these are aggravating factors, not absolute triggers, meaning that a migraine does not follow them every time. These factors can be thought of as cumulative physiological challenges that require the attention of the hypothalamus to normalize the physiological stresses that they represent.

This background connects with further recent developments implicating the role of the hypothalamus in the regulation of pain. Among many examples, some of which may have implications for therapy, one recent line of evidence has shown that an antagonist to orexin, a peptide hormone associated with the regulation of feeding behaviors, can also suppress physiological responses to sensory stimulation to the head.

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Have A Consistent Bedtime

Ever notice that you start getting tired at the same time every night? This is totally normal in fact, it is actually the perfect queue to listen to. When your bedtime waivers, your body may struggle to predict when it is time to go to bed, which can lead to problems falling asleep and staying asleep.

Going to bed at the same time every night gives your body a change to self-regulate its biological clock and expect when sleep is coming each night yes, even on the weekends. Try to plan your bedtime so that you can regularly get 8 hours of rest.

When Do You Wake Up With An Awakening Headache

These may share symptoms with migraine, tension type headache or other type of headache such as cluster headache. As the name suggests, an awakening headache tends to occur shortly after waking in the morning. Research has found that 71% of migraine patients reported awakening headache during the study period.

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Data Collection Process And Data Items

We extracted reported statistics from included studies to facilitate narrative and quantitative synthesis. Where necessary, effect sizes were converted for inclusion in meta-analysis.

Variables from which data was sought included headache variables, specifically, the measure/method of headache diagnosis, the headache diagnosis given to participants, baseline and post-treatment frequency and/or severity of headache. Sleep variables sought were baseline and post-treatment sleep latency, sleep efficiency, total sleep time and sleep quality. The study details sought were descriptions of the sample and its size, a measure of treatment effect size, the design of the study, the description of the psychotherapeutic intervention used, attrition, and follow-up period.

How Do I Know If My Sleep Schedule Is Triggering Migraines

Headaches & Sleeping Position

If an altered sleep schedule or sleep problems are behind your migraines, you might notice that you always get headaches at the same time every day, most often in the morning.

Your migraine may also wake you up, or you may feel it coming on shortly after you get out of bed. More than half of migraines happen between 4 and 9 a.m., and this may be because they’re linked to sleep.

Even if you don’t notice this pattern, your migraines could still be linked to a sleep disorder, lack of sleep, or changes in your sleep schedule.

To help pinpoint whether patterns in your sleep make you more likely to get migraines, keep a migraine diary. Write down things like:

  • When your headache begins, where the pain is, how long it lasts, and whether treatment works
  • How much sleep you get each night and when you go to bed
  • Your bedtime routine
  • Whether you wake up during the night
  • How you feel when you get up in the morning
  • Whether you take naps or feel sleepy during the day

Besides revealing patterns in your migraine attacks, a diary may help you and your doctor figure out if you have a sleep disorder.

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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.

Migraine And Headache Expanded

I hope this article was able to help you to fight headaches and migraines. Considering that the condition isnt diagnosed for almost half of the people who have it, the first step in managing it is actually getting diagnosed and visiting a doctor. It is a problem that cannot be solved before it is found to be a problem. People who arent diagnosed probably experience migraine but assume that it is just a headache.

The condition can make life much harder so getting diagnosed will help you get your life back. Considering that the pain can actually stop people from going to work, school or even getting out of bed in the morning, containing it as soon as possible is the only way to gain a level of normalcy in the situation. Migraine is a problem that many deal with and the good news is that there are people who have it and still manage to go to work and participate in lifes activities. This proves that the condition is indeed manageable. The key to dealing with migraine is recognizing what triggers it from person to person. For some it is bright lights for others it is coffee.

The next step is to get rid of them for good.

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Patients With Migraine More Likely To Suffer Poor Sleep Quality

Damian McNamara

SAN FRANCISCO Although average sleep duration and prevalence of short sleep duration, defined as sleeping less than 6 hours a day, do not significantly differ between migraineurs and individuals with nonmigraine headaches or those who do not experience headaches, sleep quality is a different story.

Investigators for the Korean Headache Sleep Study surveyed a nationally representative sample of 2695 people and found that the 5.3% who experience migraines were significantly more likely to report poor sleep quality, with Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index scores greater than 5.

Although the mechanism remains unclear, cortical spreading depression, hyperexcitability, and changes in the thalamo-trigeminal tract and/or the orexin pathway may explain the association between sleep and migraine, study investigator Tae-Jin Song, MD, PhD, from the Department of Neurology at the Ewha Womans University College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea, said here at the American Headache Society Annual Meeting 2018.

Headache Vs Migraine: Whats The Difference

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Headaches and migraines are often used synonymously, but there are some key differences between the two. Much like how a square is a rectangle but a rectangle is not always square, a migraine is a type of headache, but a headache is not always a migraine. There are many different types of headaches, including cluster, tension, and sinus headaches.

Generally, the pain that comes with common headaches is not as intense and is not associated with other symptoms. Migraines are severe and accompanied by other issues, such as pain behind one eye, seeing spots, sensitivity to light, loss of vision, and nausea.

There are two different categories of migraines, those with an aura and those without. An aura is sensory disturbances that happen about an hour before it hits.

  • Numbness or tingling, especially in the hands or face
  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty speaking

Some go through a prodrome phase, or preheadache, up to several days before the headache itself. During this period, some experience constipation, tiredness, neck stiffness, and depression, among other things.

The headache itself can last up to several days, and, as if that isnt enough, a postdrome phase can bring tiredness, depression, and difficulty concentrating for a day or two afterwards.

The Timeline of a Migraine Attack, American Migraine Foundation

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What Constitutes A Good Nap

Two things: the right length and the right time of day.

Experts suggest that the best time to nap is around 2 or 3 p.m. This timing is built into your bodys biological clock: Most people are naturally sleepiest between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. and then again between midnight and 7 a.m.

The right length depends on what you need. If you want to feel more alert, a power nap as short as 10 minutes could help. To help make new motor skills stick, a nap of at least 30 minutes may help. Ditto longer naps to help retain factual information and cause-and-effect relationships. But keep in mind that naps shouldnt be longer than one hour you dont want to wake up feeling groggy.

Why the differences? Deeper, slow-wave activity sleep is needed for committing new skills or knowledge to long-term memory.

Can napping be bad? Sometimes. Ever feel groggy and disoriented after a nap? Thats a condition called sleep inertia that can affect some negatively. And if you nap too late in the day, it can affect your regular sleeping period. Thats why its recommended that you take your naps before 3 p.m.

The Link Between Sleep Headache And Mood

The same brain regions and chemical messengers impact sleep, headache and mood, so inadequate or poor quality sleep increases the odds for headache and mood change. For example, people living with migraine who also experience insomnia often suffer from anxiety or depression, which are also common migraine comorbidities. An effective migraine treatment plan would factor in the patients medical history and psychological factors.

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Maintaining A Fixed Sleeping Time

Getting to bed and waking up at the same time is vital in improving your circadian rhythm. Meaning your body will know when to sleep and when to wake up.

This is essential if you want to avoid having poor sleep. If you’re always sleepy or experience habitual sleeplessness, going to sleep at a fixed time can help prevent insomnia, sleep apnea, and even hypnic headache. People with migraines are more likely to develop insomnia than those suffering from other headaches.

Be Cautious About Sleep Aids

How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep: Tips for Teens with Migraine

Rosen approves of short-term use of sleep aids medications and herbs that can make you drowsy especially if your sleep becomes fragmented with age.

The over-the-counter natural supplement melatonin works for sleep training, but you have to find what works for you, he says.

That said, he reiterates that he supports only short-term usage of any sleep aid.

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How Much Should You Sleep

Insomnia can make it difficult to fall asleep or can cause you to wake up early and not be able to fall back asleep. Anything less than seven hours of sleep is considered short for most healthy adults, who need seven to nine hours of sleep each night for good health.

Heres how much sleep a person needs at each age:


If you do get a tension or migraine headache from a lack of sleep, seeking treatment right away can help reduce its duration and severity.

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.

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The Five Stages Of Sleep

There are five stages of sleep: two stages of light sleep, two stages of deep sleep, and then one stage of REM sleep. If youre healthy and have normal sleep patterns, then you will go through this cycle four or five times during the night. The REM stage of sleep is concentrated in the second half of the night and its where we spend most of our sleep cycle. If you dont get enough sleep, then you dont get enough REM sleep. When you sleep less than 6 hours a night, you will spend more time in the first half of sleep, experiencing less REM sleep overall.

How Is Migraine Connected To The Sleep

Managing Headaches Related to Sleep Apnea

For anyone suffering from migraines, its important to know that this health condition is connected to the sleep-wake cycle . This is an internal clock that cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. If your sleep-wake cycle is disturbed, this can influence migraines in a number of ways. For example, sleeping too much or too little can trigger migraines. Researchers have highlighted that, for 49.8% of the migraine sufferers they looked at, sleep disturbance was a trigger for a migraine attack.

Also, if you are already suffering from a migraine and then go to sleep without treating it, this can worsen the condition, leading to more unpleasant symptoms when you wake up. The relationship between migraines and the circadian rhythm is often a vicious cycle. Migraines can disturb the sleep-wake cycle, stopping you from getting the rest you truly need, which can make the symptoms more severe or increase the risk of further migraines.

In the following article, we will explore how migraines are connected to the sleep-wake cycle, how poor sleep can trigger migraines, why migraines start when we sleep, and finally offer some essential sleep tips for migraine patients. By adjusting your lifestyle slightly and getting into a routine of good quality sleep, you can manage your migraine symptoms and reduce your chances of subsequent attacks.

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Central Disorders Of Hypersomnolence

Central disorders of hypersomnolence are characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness not caused by disturbed nocturnal sleep or by abnormalities of circadian rhythm. The cardinal feature of all the central disorders of hypersomnolence is a subjective complaint of excessive daytime sleepiness, defined as daily episodes of an irrepressible need for sleep or daytime lapses into sleep .

Narcolepsy has an estimated prevalence of 0.025% to 0.05% with an age of onset varying from early childhood to the 50s with the first peak at 15âyears and the second at 35âyears .

A dysregulation of brainstem areas, including periaqueductal gray, the dorsal raphe nucleus, and the locus coeruleus has been proposed as a possible pathophysiological link between migraine and narcolepsy. Those regions participate to the transmission and modulation of pain in migraine , promote wakefulness and regulate sleep-wake sleep transition .

KEY MESSAGE: Migraine and narcolepsy are frequently comorbid but the available evidence does not allow full understanding of the strength and of the direction of this association. The pathophysiological mechanisms of both disorders seem to converge and involve the orexinergic system. The evidence of converging pathophysiological mechanisms may support the development of targeted treatment acting simultaneously on both conditions.


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