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Why Do I Get Migraines At Night

What Were The Results

Why do I get headaches at night?

The average person hits REM 90-120 minutes after falling asleep, but cluster headache patients took around two hours in this sleep study. Researchers also found that the cluster headache group had half as many arousals as the control and concluded that the study was further proof that the hypothalamus is involved in REM sleep and cluster headaches.

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.

Be Aware Of Potential Causes

One of the most frustrating things about migraines is that they can appear to arise out of the blue causing people even more pain by catching them unaware. However, by understanding when you might be more likely to experience migraines, you can be prepared.

For instance, a recent study published by a leading journal on migraine showed that most migraine attacks occur in the early morning. Over 3000 participants were interviewed, the results of which showed that most migraineurs are early birds, who find it difficult to copy with changes in sleep patterns. If this sounds familiar, and if your migraine is worse in the mornings, try getting up early on a consistent basis. Avoid caffeine, which can make the attack more severe, and make sure youve gotten to bed early so that youve had enough sleep before your circadian rhythms wake you pre-dawn.

Another thing you can try is to protect yourself from the effects of light. Because its extra important for migraine patients to not disrupt their sleep-wake schedule, and one way you can mess up your sleep-wake schedule is exposure to blue light in the evening.

Try Axon glasses to help with headaches and light sensitivity and, by using them in the evening, you can protect yourself from painful light. Simple!

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What Are The Symptoms Of Migraine

The main symptoms of migraine are an intense, throbbing or pounding headache often affecting the front or one side of the head, nausea and sometimes vomiting , and an increased sensitivity to light smells and sound. The throbbing headache is often made worse by the person moving.

Other symptoms of migraine might include poor concentration, feeling hot or cold, perspiration , and an increased need to pass urine. This can occur before, during or after the migraine attack.

People might also experience stomach aches and diarrhoea.

It is common for people to feel tired for up to two or three days after a migraine.

Whats The Link Between Migraines And Insomnia

Headache at Night: Possible Causes, Getting a Diagnosis ...

If you go to bed with a throbbing migraine, you wont fall asleep until much later than normal. Whats more, if you keep waking up in the middle of the night with a headache, youll struggle to get enough good-quality, restorative sleep.

Indeed, according to a recent study published by Wiley Online, 85% of migraine sufferers say they have poor-quality sleep and feel groggy in the morning. As such, its easy to see how nocturnal migraines could cause insomnia.

However, according to the American Migraine Foundation, the link between migraines and sleep disorders is not a straight-forward one. There is a two-way link between these conditions. Migraines might cause insomnia, but insomnia may also cause migraines.

This is the reason why improving your sleep hygiene will usually help to alleviate your nocturnal migraines. A little later, well show you how to improve your sleep hygiene to prevent insomnia and migraines.

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The Importance Of Healthy Sleep

Behavioral sleep changes can promote restful, regular sleep and reduce headache. Simple changes like establishing consistent sleep and wake-up times, as well as getting between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a day, can make a world of difference. Experts also recommend avoiding substances that impair sleep, like caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, and also suggest winding down before bed to prevent sleep problems. To hear about how members of our community stick to healthy sleep habits, read this article from our resource library.

From comorbidities to daily habits, many factors explain why a wide variety of sleep events trigger headache. Understanding your migraine and identifying simple lifestyle changes can make all the difference. As you embark on this journey, find the resources and support you need through our doctor-verified resource library and migraine support group.

What Types Of Headache Are Associated With Serious Illness

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.

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Sleep Loss And Insomnia

Because sleep deprivation is a common cause of morning headaches, people with insomnia also have a high risk of experiencing morning headaches. People with this sleep disorder struggle to fall asleep or to stay asleep. As a result, they often do not get sufficient sleep and may feel unrested or sluggish during the day.

What Are The Types Of Headaches What Type Of Headache Is A Migraine

Is it Normal to Get a Headache or Migraine From Staying up Late at Night? – VLOG

There are over 150 types of headaches, divided into two categories: primary headaches and secondary headaches. A migraine is a primary headache, meaning that it isnt caused by a different medical condition. Primary headache disorders are clinical diagnoses, meaning theres no blood test or imaging study to diagnose it. A secondary headache is a symptom of another health issue.

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Treatment Options For Hypnic Headache

The treatment for hypnic headache is based on what has been found to work by doctors. However, there is limited information on the best treatment.

Caffeine in the form of a strong cup of coffee before bed seems effective as both an acute and preventive treatment. If youve been told to try this you may be worried about it causing you not to sleep. The evidence suggests this rarely occurs and caffeine is an effective treatment option.

Lithium carbonate can be used as a preventive treatment. The evidence suggests its effective in around 1 in 3 people. However, side effects are often a problem and can lead to treatment being stopped.

Indomethacin has been shown to be effective for some people. However, some people find the side effects too much and need to stop treatment.

There is some limited evidence that topiramate may be effective as a preventive for some people.

Some people find painkillers with added caffeine can be a good acute treatment. However, you should limit how often you take these due to the possibility of medication overuse headache and other complications from regular use of painkillers.

A Nightmare On Rem Street

A close friend of mine likens it to Freddy Kruger, waiting for you to fall asleep so he can slip his knife fingers into your eye socket and temple. In the past, I have set the alarm for every 2-3 hours to prevent myself from going into deep sleep and having an attack. The result is disastrous, leaving some with PTSD-like symptoms when the cycle finally ends. Cluster headache steals from you in the night and makes daytime naps impossible, but why? Well, it goes back to the hypothalamus and the natural hormone melatonin. Melatonin tells your body when it’s time to go to sleep. During active cycles, cluster headache patients release lower levels of melatonin at night, which is why supplementation can be an effective preventive treatment.

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Healthy Sleeping Habits: Remember These Tips To Relieve Headaches In The Morning

Tension headaches brought on by the way you sleep are more common than most other forms of morning headache, so it can be beneficial to try adjusting your bedtime habits as a first-line home remedy.

  • Use fewer pillows, ideally just one or two.
  • Sleep on your front or back, not the side, since this leaves your neck bent during the night.
  • Try wearing a mouth guard to avoid grinding teeth in your sleep.
  • Have a light snack and glass of water before bed.
  • Set and maintain a consistent sleep schedule.

If you typically suffer from a headache in the morning, try some of the options listed above. As always, speak with your doctor first.

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Are Severe Morning Headaches Associated With Other Symptoms

Headache at Night: Possible Causes, Getting a Diagnosis ...

Certain illnesses, like meningitis or brain cancer, can manifest with headaches alongside other symptoms. Seek medical attention immediately if your headache is accompanied by:

  • Fever
  • Difficulty seeing or
  • A stiff neck.

If your morning headaches seem to be getting worse than usual, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Also, the sudden emergence of a big, stabbing, or otherwise debilitating headache should always be investigated.

On the less-severe side of the scale, headaches accompanied by stuffiness or flu-like symptoms may be just a mild infection that has given you a sinus headache. Cluster headaches also sometimes happen with a watery eye or runny nose, but only on the same side of the face as the pain.

However, if youre waking up with a headache and nausea, it could be a migraine. Migraines often, but not always, present with trademark visual auras as well as other visual distortions, as well as slurring of speech, or one-sided tingling and weakness. Sensitivity to light and sound are also symptoms.

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How Does Your Headache Feel

  • Tension headaches are characterized by a tightening sensation, as if a band were being constricted about your head.
  • Cluster headaches give off a more burning or piercing sort of pain.
  • The pain of a migraine headache can be overwhelming to the point of being crippling.
  • Migraine sufferers sometimes also experience brief periods of sudden, stabbing pain around the ear.

Snoring And Sleep Apnea

Regular snoring is a risk factor for chronic daily headache. Snoring may be the first sign of serious abnormal breathing, but not all snorers have obstructive sleep apnea, which is a condition that causes temporary pausing of breathing when asleep. Sleep apnea contributes to poor sleep routine patients often awaken by headache or dont feel rested after a full nights sleep.

Symptoms of sleep apnea include apparent pauses in breathing, awakenings, nighttime urination, night sweats and daytime sleepiness. A significant proportion of sleep apnea-related headaches will improve or stop with the treatment of the apnea.

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Who Usually Gets Hypnic Headaches And Why

Older adults and women are more likely to get hypnic headaches, although children can also have them. Women are between 1.5 to two times more likely to have hypnic headaches than men.

Over 90% of people experience their first hypnic headache after age 50, with an average age of onset of 62 years old.

It usually takes a long time from onset of headaches to a diagnosis of hypnic headaches, which may skew the ages of those who have them to be older. On average, people dont receive a diagnosis until seven years after their first hypnic headache.

When Is A Headache A Sign Of A Brain Tumor

Why Do We Get Headaches? | COLOSSAL QUESTIONS

A common question about severe or persistent headaches is whether they can be caused by a serious underlying health problem, such as a brain tumor.

The fact of the matter is that headaches are more likely a component of primary headache disorders, such as migraine or tension headaches, rather than due to brain tumors. However, certain factors may indicate that a headache could be symptomatic of a larger issue.

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What Is The Link Between Caffeine And Nighttime Headaches

Contrary to popular belief, caffeine is not a direct trigger of migraines. In fact, it is caffeine withdrawal that can spark off a pretty nasty migraine in some people. Caffeine-withdrawal migraines can sometimes get worse at night. Drinking a small amount of coffee may alleviate the symptoms of nighttime withdrawals, but this should be weighed up against the fact that caffeine can disturb sleep for many people.

If you decide to give up caffeine completely, withdrawal migraines will usually disappear within 2 4 weeks. On the other hand, if your intake of caffeine fluctuates, you may suffer these mini withdrawals on a semi-regular basis. For example, regular coffee drinkers that avoid caffeine for 1-2 days at a time may experience withdrawal migraines. As such, keeping caffeine intake consistent can help to prevent migraines associated with caffeine.

According to a review on NCBI, caffeine can even be used to treat some rare headache disorders such as hypnic headaches. This is partly because caffeine slows down the production of adenosine a hormone thats involved in nerve functioning and pain sensitivity in the brain.

Create The Right Sleep Environment: Dark Quiet Cool And Comfortable

Your bed is for sex and sleep nothing else, says Noah Rosen, MD, the program director of neurology at Northwell Health and an associate professor of neurology and psychiatry at Zucker School of Medicine in Great Neck, New York.

This means no TV, digital screens, or eating in bed, Dr. Rosen says.

Rosen recommends a cool, dark, and quiet room for sleeping. Use humidified air in the bedroom during winter months, and weighted blankets or specially designed pillows if these help you relax, he says.

Keep your bedroom uncluttered, and try blackout curtains if you are light sensitive, the National Sleep Foundation suggests.

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Sleep Apnea And Headaches

People with sleep apnea stop breathing off and on for short periods during the night. Snoring is the symptom most commonly associated with sleep apnea. But sleep apnea headaches are also surprisingly common, Dr. Foldvary-Schaefer says.

We think more than half of the people with sleep apnea have headaches, she says. The classic scenario is that a person wakes up with a headache each day, which goes away within 4 hours.

People usually describe apnea-related headaches as pressing pain that occurs on both sides of the head. They differ from migraines, which often cause pulsing pain on one side or the other and are usually accompanied by nausea or other symptoms. And the good news: Typically when we treat the apnea, the headaches go away, Dr. Foldvary-Schaefer says.

Could Your Bedroom Be Causing Your Migraines

Why Do I Have More Sinus Headaches at Night? » Scary Symptoms

If youre experiencing headaches at night, think about the environment you sleep in. Many environmental factors can trigger a migraine, such as:


Using a mobile phone in bed or keeping your bedside lamp on at night may be contributing to your migraines. People that suffer from regular migraines often sleep better in total darkness. This may because migraine sufferers produce less melatonin than the rest of the population.

Melatonin is a hormone produced in the pineal gland which helps us to feel sleepy. Melatonin is produced more efficiently in the dark. According to a study published by Taylor and Francis Online, melatonin supplements could be a highly effective treatment for some migraine sufferers.

As such, sleeping in total darkness may help to prevent mild-to-moderate headaches and migraines, because youll encourage your body to produce enough melatonin. This will have a positive effect on brain health and sleep quality.

Strong Smells

Perfumes are a known trigger for migraines. Scientists arent exactly sure why smells trigger migraines perhaps they contribute to blood vessel or neural changes in the brain.

There are many smells to be found in the bedroom. These could come from air fresheners, fabric conditioners, scented candles, or incense burners. Certain cleaning products are also known to trigger migraines in some people. If youve developed migraines and cannot find an obvious cause, consider if youve started using any scented products recently.

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How Does The Circadian System Work

The circadian system can be traced back to a single cell, according to research by Dr. Mark Burish published in 2018, which creates a “feedback loop,” causing other cells to activate and deactivate like clockwork every 24 hours. A central clock governs that peripheral clock in your cells. It has a very long name Suprachiasmatic nucleus and sounds like it could be from . The SCN is found in the front portion of the hypothalamus that almond-shaped part of the brain that also controls hormone regulation, among many other vital jobs. The SCN or central “clock” of your brain is calibrated by sunlight, which then sets the peripheral clocks in your body to their 24-hour cycle.1


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