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Should You Sleep With A Migraine

How Is Migraine Connected To The Sleep

When should I see a neurologist about a headache?

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.

Tried Everything And Still Cant Sleep You May Have A Sleep Disorder

Although you can solve many sleep problems by changing your habits, a sleep disorder like snoring, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, or chronic insomnia may require the attention of a medical professional or sleep specialist.

People living with migraine are between two and eight times more likely to experience sleep disorders compared with the general public, according to the American Migraine Foundation. Those with chronic migraine 15 or more headache days a month report twice the rates of insomnia as those with less frequent headaches.

Poor sleep is a common trigger for migraine headaches, Rosen says. There is good evidence that sleep disrupters, like snoring and sleep apnea, are linked to chronic migraines.

How Do I Know If My Sleep Schedule Is Triggering Migraines

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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What Is The Prognosis For People With Migraines

Migraines are unique to each individual. Likewise, how migraines are managed is also unique. The best outcomes are usually achieved by learning and avoiding personal migraine triggers, managing symptoms, practicing preventive methods, following the advice of your healthcare provider and reporting any significant changes as soon as they occur.

Why Such A Close Relationship

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The balance of sleep and wakefulness, and its correct timing, relies on a finely tuned system, which is referred to as homeostasis. If too much overloads this system in favour of one state versus the other, such as staying up late, having fragmented sleep, sleeping in at the weekends, or sleeping at inappropriate times relative to your body clock , the system will try and compensate to redress the balance.

One idea might be that a migraine attack may actually represent one of these balancing mechanisms, an extreme and abnormally over-compensating one. If for example you are sleep deprived, suffering a migraine may actually force you to keep still and lie down in the dark, in the hope of trying to sleep as a way of ridding yourself of the migraine.

Having too much sleep may also have the opposite effect and keep you awake with a migraine on subsequent nights. Both scenarios may be a way of trying to redress both sleep pressure and circadian alignment and keep the system in equilibrium.

The balance of sleep and wakefulness, and its correct timing, relies on a finely tuned system, which is referred to as homeostasis. If too much overloads this system in favour of one state versus the other, such as staying up late, having fragmented sleep, sleeping in at the weekends, or sleeping at inappropriate times relative to your body clock , the system will try and compensate to redress the balance.

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Clean Up Your Bedtime Routine

I admit I hate the term sleep hygiene. But it just has to do with creating the best environment and conditions for getting to slumber town. The basic rule involves setting a regular hit-the-hay time that allows for 8 hours between the sheets dedicated to sleep.

That means most other activities should be done elsewhere. Im talking about working on your laptop, bingeing on Netflix, scrolling through the Insta, listening to podcasts, even reading.

I say most because clearly you can enjoy certain ahem activities in bed.

Take some time to unwind before going to sleep. Try meditating, reading a book, journaling in a notebook, or something else relaxing that doesnt involve looking at a screen.

A regular schedule is also intended to provide a set waking time since oversleeping can also trigger migraine pain. This why many people with migraine experience headaches on the weekend.

Back Sleep Position Needs

As mentioned previously, proper support for the relationship between your head and your neck is crucial to preventing a migraine from forming. When you sleep on your back, your head and neck have a higher chance of being out of proper alignment, making finding a high-quality, supportive pillow critical. 

Those who sleep on their back require a pillow thats low profile and allows the head to lay level with the height of the shoulders. Its also imperative to make sure the pillow has enough fill to keep the neck in a comfortable rested position. 

The proper pillow for back sleepers depends on the body size and height of the sleeper, so its important to take that into consideration before your purchase. 

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Whats The Best Way To Sleep With A Migraine

When a migraine hits, usually all we can think about is the excruciating pain we feel in our head. The proper bed pillow can help alleviate some of the pain that comes with such a headache. Migraine sufferers should look for a pillow with cooling properties and memory foam support, and our list includes all types of pillows to accommodate everyones needs.

Whether you suffer from migraines chronically or only experience a migraine headache every once in a while, its crucial to take them seriously. Migraines can be a sign of a separate, serious health problem, so be sure to keep track of when you have them and keep your doctor informed. In the meantime, being prepared can alleviate or even prevent a migraine from reaching its peak severity.

Check out our pillow reviews to discover which pillow you should have at home to prevent a migraine.

Insomnia And Migraines Often Co

How To Sleep When You Suffer From Migraines And Headaches

For those with regular migraines, insomnia is the most frequently occurring disorder; in fact, most patients complaining of headaches also have insomnia. Additionally, many who suffer from both insomnia and migraines had some kind of past mild head injury.

We know that a lack of sleep is a common trigger for migraines, so it only makes sense that insomnia would be so prevalent for headache sufferers.

In a University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill study, researchers surveyed 147 migraine patients. For those who had more than 15 headache occurrences a month, insomnia was the most common complaint. Two-thirds of the participants had trouble falling asleep.

Those with both problems may constantly run into the issue of juggling rest in conjunction with their headaches; someone with a headache may want to nap in order to sleep it off. But the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggests that this could cause some problems when it comes to sleeping at night, potentially leading to chronic insomnia.

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Some Kids Hate Them Some Adults Crave Them But Is Nappy Effective Really

Its hard to doubt the importance of a good nights sleep the act helps us improve focus, react more quickly, and even create memories. And headache sufferers may be more aware of this than most: Irregular sleep patterns may trigger both headaches or migraines in some.

But we totally get it a good nights sleep can sometimes be elusive. The question is: Can naps fill the void? Heres what the research says about the benefits of naps.

Best Sleeping Positions For Neck Pain And Headaches

Headaches and neck pain can severely impact your life. Its common for an injury or regular aging to cause neck pain and headaches. What many dont consider is that an improper sleeping position is often a major factor for the pain in the neck area. For those that sleep on your side or even other ways, we have some advice that can help you. There are numerous ways to minimize neck pain and reduce the occurrence of headaches through changes in posture, sleep position, and physical therapy.

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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.

Risk Of Bias In Individual Studies And Between

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Individual studies were assessed for bias using the Cochrane risk of bias tool. The tool assesses seven possible domains of bias within individual studies, including random sequence generation, allocation concealment, blinding, incomplete outcome data, selective reporting, and any other suspected bias. Outcome level assessment of across study heterogeneity was examined using the Cochrane Q and I2 metrics.

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Migraines And Sleep Quality

Migraines and the sleep-wake cycle are deeply interconnected. The Korean Headache Sleep Study, published in 2018, showed that migraine sufferers are much more likely to report poor sleep quality compared to people who suffer from headaches but not migraines or those who suffer from neither. Researchers from the study noted that migraine patients who had poor sleep quality experienced headaches more often than migraine sufferers whose sleep quality wasnt badly affected.

Sleep quality isnt the same as how many hours you sleep it refers to how well you sleep. Some signs of good sleep quality would include falling asleep in 30 minutes or less, sleeping soundly throughout the night and not waking up more than once, and being able to fall back to sleep within 20 minutes if you do wake up once in the middle of the night.

Poor quality sleep the kind which migraines can lead to is characterised by trouble falling and staying asleep, feeling restless, and waking up early. Of course, poor sleep quality can affect how much you get to sleep. After all, if it takes you hours to fall asleep and you need to take up to an alarm, then you might not get enough sleep. When it comes to protecting your well-being and avoiding conditions like migraine, sleep quality and quantity both matter.

Migraines And Sleep Disturbances

It’s well-established that sleep and migraine have an intricate relationship and that sleep disorders and migraine are frequently comorbid conditions. While lack of sleep is a trigger for many migraineurs, migraine patients use sleep as a treatment for migraine.

There’s also a relationship between sleep quality and migraine frequencythe more migraines you have, the more sleep disturbances you’re likely to have, such as:

  • Interrupted sleep

This can, of course, make the following more likely in migraineurs:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Still feeling tired after awakening
  • Daytime fatigue

Having a sleep disorder is linked to more severe and more frequent migraines as well. And sleep disturbances are believed to contribute to the transformation from episodic migraine to chronic migraine in certain people.

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Express Yourself And Manage Your Pain

This might sound silly or counterintuitive to some people, but if youre suffering from repeated migraines and notice that it might be from having too many emotions or responsibilities on your plate, expressing your innermost thoughts, worries, fears, and desires in some way, shape, or form just might be the ticket to resolving this ongoing issue. 

Also, its helpful to track other activities throughout your day, too, to see if anything triggers your migraines. 

Therefore, we suggest keeping whats called a headache diary or a headache journal. 

This is a good tool to help you observe your behavior and get to the real root of your migraines causes. In sleep diaries, you keep track of things like what kinds of foods and drinks you had during the day, if you exercised, how long you slept the night before, how stressed out you were feeling, when and where the headache started, if you took anything to help it, and so on. 

The more you do this, the more youll start to notice a pattern that emerges, which leads to a more long-lasting resolution than any over-the-counter sleep aid can provide. You may even find that your migraine at night becomes a thing of the past.

Examining The Relationship Between Migraines And Sleep Habits

How to Overcome Waking Up With Migraines And Headaches

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.

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Will Sleeping More Help

If lack of rest is the problem, then shouldnt you sleep as much as possible? Well, not exactly. We mentioned earlier that sleep deprivation is the most common cause of a migraine; however, too much rest can also put your system out of whack.

When it comes down to it, the quality of rest that you get is much more important than the quantity. Studies show that cluster headaches mainly occur during a nights rest, so trying to sleep off a headache may not necessarily be the best solution. Getting to the root of the problem is the best way to decrease the frequency of migraines, which is why those with disorders have seen improvement by treating their disorder with the help of their doctor.

Create A Bedtime Ritual

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.

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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.

Who Gets Migraines What Are The Risk Factors

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Its difficult to predict who may get a migraine and who may not, but there are risk factors that may make you more vulnerable. These risk factors include:

  • Genetics: Up to 80% of people who get migraine headaches have a first-degree relative with the disease.
  • Gender. Migraine headaches happen to women more than men, especially women between the ages of 15 and 55. Its likely more common in women because of the influence of hormones.
  • Stress level. You may get migraines more often if youre high-stress. Stress can trigger a migraine.
  • Smoking.

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Light Noise Or Smells Trigger Or Worsen Pain

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.”

The Best Sleeping Positions For Neck Pain

Research has shown that back or side sleeping is the best sleeping position for neck pain. These two positions put less pressure on your spine and allow your neck to rest in a natural position. Practice better sleep habits such as avoiding TV and blue light sources to improve your sleep quality.

When sleeping on your back, be sure to use a pillow with elevated neck support and a cradle for the back of the head. Side sleeping requires a pillow that contours to the neck and head so that the spine remains nice and straight throughout the night. Below youll find the best pillows for these sleeping positions.

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How To Sleep With A Migraine

Migraines are extremely common in the UK and the third most common disease in the world. Theyre notoriously frustrating, often stopping us from getting on with our day and keeping us awake in the middle of the night.

Not only do migraines cause severe throbbing pain, they can also cause other symptoms including light sensitivity, changes in vision and nausea.

Without a good nights sleep, a migraine can worsen as you become fatigued whilst trying to fight off the pain.

Thats why TEMPUR® are giving you a rundown of what a migraine is, why they happen and how you can get a better nights sleep when dealing with the discomfort

Oversleeping Can Also Increase Your Migraine Risk

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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 isnt 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.

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Information From Research And A Simple Treatment Plan

At the University of North Carolina , Chapel Hill, researchers studied this association by interviewing 147 adults with transformed migraine . None of the patients reported feeling refreshed upon awaking and four out of five regularly felt tired upon waking. This compares to responses of individuals with infrequent migrainesapproximately one in four felt refreshed upon waking and only about one in three awakened feeling tired.

TM has frequently been used for those with migraine who at some earlier time had lower number of headaches including migraines and have transformed to higher frequency over 15 days per month. Officially, an International Classification system defines chronic migraine as individuals with fifteen or more days of headache for greater than three months, and eight or more days of either migraine drug use for headache or migraine descriptive pain symptoms.

  • Schedule consistent bedtime that allows 8 hours time in bed.
  • No TV, reading, music in bed.
  • Use visualization techniques to shorten time to sleep onset.
  • Move your last food to at least 4 hours before bedtime; limit fluids within 2 hours of bedtime.
  • Stop naps.

When Should You See A Headache Specialist

As we mentioned before, the medical community understands more these days about migraines, but research is ongoing, which means things like treatment recommendations and guidelines can change quickly. Headache specialists are well-versed in all of the new research, because its their sole focus. 

It might be time to see a specialist if:

  • Youve tried medications but nothing is working.
  • Your migraines are getting worse or happening more often.
  • You find yourself relying on opioids to treat your migraine pain.
  • Youre interested in newer medications that your current healthcare provider might not be familiar with. 

Remember that you may need a referral to see a specialist, and seeing someone in-network versus out-of-network can greatly affect your cost, so its a good idea to do your homework first. 

Having migraines is tough and can be life-changing, but there are ways to manage them. We encourage you to seek help and find out more about your options.

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How Do You Know Its A Migraine

Migraines and tension-type headaches can both cause throbbing pain that lasts for several hours. So how can you tell the difference?

Migraine is more than just headache. For some people, the headache is not what really bothers them the most, if at all, says Stephanie Nahas, a physician at the Jefferson Headache Center in Philadelphia. Pain on one side of your head, pain that throbs, pain that is moderate to severe, and pain that gets worse with physical activity are all indicators of a migraine. They also usually involve other symptoms, such as sensitivity to light and noise, vomiting, and nausea. Additionally, neck pain, sinus pressure, sweaty palms, visual disturbances, and dizziness are considered typical migraine symptoms.

The pain of tension-type headache is most often diffuse and dull, and it is generally less intense than headache associated with migraine, says Nahas. A tension-type headache typically may have one mild symptom in addition to head pain, but it typically has none.


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