Updated at: 26-02-2022 - By: Jane Brody

The last time I visited Disneyland, I saw spots and felt something horrible was about to happen. I was right. As soon as my eyes started hurting, I started throwing up.

In order to alleviate my discomfort, I stayed in my hotel room all day with a wet washcloth wrapped around my neck and a pillow propped up on my pillowcase.

It’s either you love them or you hate them. The real question is, what are we going to do about it?

Headache vs. Migraine: What’s the Difference?

Despite the fact that they are frequently used interchangeably, there are several key differences between the two. A migraine is one type of headache, but not all headaches are migraines, much as a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not always square. Many different types of headaches can be found, including cluster, tension, and sinus.

Most people don’t have any other symptoms or indicators with a regular headache. Migraines can produce nausea and vomiting in addition to the pain behind one eye, seeing spots, light sensitivity, and loss of vision.

Migraines with and without aura (sometimes known as classic migraines) are two separate subtypes. People may notice “sensory disturbances” an hour or two before a meteor shower.

There are a number of things that could go wrong:

  • Examples of this include spots, stars, zigzags, and flashing lights.
  • Inability to see things as they are
  • The sense of tingling or paralysis, particularly in the hands and face.
  • The muscles are weakened.
  • I find it difficult to speak.

It is possible for some people to experience a “preheadache,” or “prodrome,” for as long as a few days before experiencing a headache. Constipation, exhaustion, neck stiffness, and sadness are all frequent side effects during this time.

After the headache has subsided, there may be a postdrome phase that includes weariness, depression, and difficulty concentrating for a few days.

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Sleep Deprivation is a Common Trigger

Isn’t this the pits? Migraine sufferers must first learn to recognize the triggers of their attacks in order to avoid them. A lack of understanding of why migraines arise may be a factor, however, evidence suggests that time may play a role in migraines.

Dr. Alex Nesbitt, a clinical neurology researcher at the University of Surrey, claims that a lack of sleep can lead to a variety of neurological problems.

Sleep and waking are delicately balanced, and their precise timing is referred to as “homeostasis.” To re-establish equilibrium, this system will compensate for favoring one condition over the other (sleep or wakefulness).

Jet lag, weekend sleep-ins, late nights, and power naps can all disrupt this balance. According to one theory, migraines are your body’s attempt to get back to normal. It’s not unusual for someone who has been sleeping less than usual to suffer from a horrible headache that forces them to lie down.

migraine sufferers may have insomnia because of the close relationship between migraines and sleep loss.

Links to Sleep Disorders

Asthma, type 2 diabetes, and epilepsy are the major causes of disability around the globe, according to the World Health Organization. Despite the fact that migraine and headache problems, in general, are among the least well-funded disciplines of study, this is the case.

Evidence suggests a connection between sleep problems and severe headaches. A study conducted in South Korea discovered a link between migraines and sleep disorders such as insomnia, as well as an upward trend in the number of people experiencing headaches on an annual basis (see chart below).

Insomnia and Migraines Often Co-Exist

Sleep deprivation is the most frequent ailment among those who have migraines on a daily basis. However, it is not always the case that people who have both insomnia and migraines have suffered from a mild head injury in the past.

Migraine sufferers are often plagued by insomnia since sleep deprivation is a common trigger for migraines.

Illustration of Insomnia Cravings

It may be difficult for people with both diseases to achieve the right balance between sleep and headaches, so many may resort to taking a nap to “sleep it off.” According to the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (JCSM), this could cause sleep disturbances and perhaps persistent insomnia.

Sleep Apnea

Because it has the same effect as sleep deprivation, sleep apnea degrades the quality of your rest. The illness causes your breathing to stop and restart while you sleep. In a study by the American Academy of Neurology, researchers found that people who suffer from migraines may have an underdiagnosis of apnea.

Apnea is a frequent problem that many people don’t even know they have; it may not wake them up entirely, but it can have a significant impact on their sleep quality. If you have headaches, snoring, or tiredness, you should contact a doctor to rule out sleep apnea.

Restless Leg Syndrome

The thought of moving your leg all night long is something you’ve certainly thought about at some point in your life. Restless leg syndrome sufferers are unable to get a decent night’s sleep because of this problem.

Migraine sufferers, like those with sleep apnea, may find relief by treating their sleep disorders. Some headaches may indicate that you aren’t getting enough rest.

Circadian Rhythm Disorder

Another sort of sleep disturbance associated with migraines is the disruption of the body’s circadian cycle. Our bodies are able to recognize the difference between day and night based on our circadian rhythms. When Daylight Savings Time ends and we move between time zones, we are alerted to the fact that something is off.

It’s impossible to sleep well when a person’s circadian rhythm is out of whack, making it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Migraines may become more common in those who work night shifts or travel frequently.

Will Sleeping More Help?

That being the case, why not try to get as much rest as possible? That, however, is not the case. While sleep deprivation is the most common cause of migraines, obtaining too much sleep can also disrupt your system.

When it comes to your health, the quality rather than the quantity of sleep you get is considerably more important. Cluster headaches and sleep deprivation have a strong association, so sleeping off a headache might not be the best option. Why this strategy has been so successful is because migraine sufferers have found relief by working with their doctor to identify and treat any underlying causes of their disease.

How to Sleep With a Migraine

What should you do if you get a migraine? Sleep hygiene has a big impact on your health, especially at night.

An attempt was made by researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, to identify patterns in the symptoms of people who suffer from migraines. As many as 80% of individuals surveyed took part while lying down, 70% went to the bathroom during the night, 60% dozed, and 50% used sleeping medication on a daily basis. Researchers in this study examined the frequency and severity of headaches as a result of various lifestyle choices.

In this research, women were divided into two groups, one of which received a placebo and the other of which devised new bedtime rituals. After six weeks, the ladies who had changed their nightly pattern reported significant reductions in the severity and frequency of their headaches. Some folks reported such remarkable changes that they were able to stop suffering from chronic headaches altogether.

To get you started, here are a few suggestions:

Have a Consistent Bedtime

In what year did you first begin to feel exhausted at the same time every night? The good news is that this is a totally acceptable way to begin your day. If your bedtime is continuously shifting, your body may become confused about when it’s time to sleep and have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.

Going to bed at the same time every night, even on weekends, gives your body a chance to regulate its biological clock and anticipate when sleep will arrive. Planning your bedtime in advance is the greatest way to ensure regular 8-hour sleep cycles.

The Bed Is Just for Sleeping

For those who have difficulties sleeping and are plagued by migraines, the temptation to watch Netflix or read a book while lying in bed is powerful, but these activities may be interfering with your ability to get a decent night’s sleep. You can wake up in the middle of the night when trying to sleep by reading or listening to music, but watching television or reading might disrupt your circadian rhythm, making it harder to fall asleep in the first place.

Practice a Bedtime Routine

Sleepiness can be induced by following a bedtime schedule. Before you go to bed, light a candle, take a hot bath or shower, listen to an audiobook, or meditate to help you wind down and be ready for the night. You may train your brain to detect when you need a nap by doing relaxing activities over and over again.

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6 Sleep Tips for People With Migraine

Changing food, lifestyle, and sleep habits may induce migraines and interrupt your sleep, but is this true for you? According to Penn Medicine’s Katherine Hamilton, MD, an assistant professor of clinical neurology and a headache expert, the answer is yes.

Migraine brains prefer to be as stable and consistent as possible, and Dr. Hamilton believes that any shift in habits can lead to a headache.

There appears to be a two-way link between migraines and sleep, according to a study. In a study published in Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders in January 2018, researchers found that headaches might cause sleep problems, which in turn can lead to migraines.

Headache specialist and associate professor Lauren Doyle Strauss, DO, believes that excellent sleep habits are one of the most effective approaches for managing migraine.

According to the American Headache Society, a few months of improved sleep hygiene can reduce migraine symptoms.

Here are six tips to help you obtain a better night’s rest.

1. Stick to a Regular Sleep Schedule

Sleep deprivation and oversleeping can also cause headaches, according to the American Migraine Foundation (AMF). The association recommends getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

You should aim for a consistent daily bedtime and wake-up time, if possible, according to Hamilton. This woman claims that an irregular sleep and wake routine increases the risk of a migraine episode.

According to Dr. Strauss, avoiding naps can help you get a good night’s sleep. She acknowledges that this isn’t always easy because the only thing that can bring relief from a headache is sleep.

You’ll have a hard time falling asleep at night if you take too many naps during the day. ” She suggests that you stick to a regular bedtime and restrict your afternoon naps.

If you have a hard time falling asleep, the American Migraine Foundation recommends taking a warm bath, reading, or listening to soothing music before bedtime.

2. Create the Right Sleep Environment: Dark, Quiet, Cool, and Comfortable

Neurology program director at Northwell Health and associate professor of neurology at the Zucker School of Medicine, New York, Dr. Noah Rosen argues that one’s bed is just for sexual and resting purposes; nothing else is permitted.

As the doctor explains, this means “no televisions or digital devices” and “no eating in bed”.

Rosen recommends that you sleep in an environment that is dark, quiet, and cool. He recommends using humidified air in your bedroom throughout the winter if weighted blankets or custom-made pillows help you relax while you sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, if you’re light sensitive, you should consider using blackout curtains.

3. Turn Off Electronics an Hour Before Bed

A racing mind isn’t the only reason people can’t sleep at night. It is Rosen’s belief that the disruption of the circadian cycle and consequent awakening of the brain induced by blue light from television, telephones, and tablets make it harder to sleep. A half-hour before going to bed, he suggests turning off all electronic devices.

4. Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, and Meals Too Close to Bedtime

Consuming the right foods and drinking enough water can affect how well you sleep, according to new research. In order to have a good night’s sleep, he recommends the following methods:

  • The consumption of alcohol can lead you to wake up from a deep slumber, therefore you should avoid it if this happens.
  • Caffeine should be avoided after a particular point in time (this varies from person to person).
  • Before going to bed, it is preferable to avoid a heavy meal.
  • Limit your fluid consumption after a certain hour to avoid waking up in the middle of the night to use the restroom.

5. Practice a Relaxation Technique

In Rosen’s opinion, a lot of migraine sufferers have difficulty going to sleep at night. In order to improve their relaxation talents, he suggests that his patients do frequent physical exercise, deep belly breathing, and biofeedback.

Studies on the relationship between mindfulness and headaches are ongoing, according to Rosen. When practicing yoga positions before bed, you may be doing exactly what the doctor ordered.

You may find this type of yoga to be the most relaxing form of practice. Those who performed an 11-minute yoga nidra meditation for a month had less stress and a better quality of sleep than those in a control group, according to a new study.

A wide variety of yoga nidra recordings can be found on the Yoga Nidra Network website, which is free to use.

6. Be Cautious About Sleep Aids

Even if your sleep is becoming more fragmented as you get older, Rosen supports the use of short-term sleep aids (medications and plants that make you drowsy).

For those who want to have better sleep, Dr. Axe recommends using melatonin, a natural sleep aid (available over-the-counter).

His position on sleep aids is that they should only be used on a “short-term basis.”

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Tried Everything and Still Can’t Sleep? You May Have a Sleep Disorder

Many sleep disorders, such as snoring, restless legs syndrome, and persistent insomnia, can be treated by changing one’s lifestyle, despite the fact that many sleep disorders can be fixed by altering one’s habits.

It is estimated that patients with migraine are up to eight times more likely than the general population to experience sleep difficulties as a result of their condition. Patients with more than 15 headache days per month have twice as much sleep deprivation as those with fewer than 15 headache days per month.

Rosen believes that a lack of sleep is a significant contributor to migraines. Snoring and sleep apnea have been related to chronic migraines in the past.

FAQs

Can lack of sleep be a cause?

Lack of sleep is the most prevalent cause of headaches. Even if your nap time is correct, your sleep quality may be deteriorating. You should discuss this possibility with your doctor because you may be suffering from a disorder that you’re not aware of.

Even if you don’t have a medical problem, you should still make sleep a priority each night to keep your body’s natural system in balance and avoid headaches.

Are my medications keeping me up?

Some medications, especially hypnotics, can cause sleeplessness. There are some that can put you right to sleep. Ask your doctor if one or both of these conditions could be causing your migraines.

Can you suggest ways to improve my sleep habits?

Consult your doctor for further recommendations, as well as those given above. Because they are aware of your whole medical history, doctors are better able to assist you with diagnosis and treatment.

Could cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) help?

30 to 60 percent of people who undergo behavioral therapy report less frequent headaches as a result of their treatment. It is possible to treat migraines by managing stress, learning about migraine triggers, and altering physical habits (such as eating, exercising, and sleep).

No, CBT does not have to be used in place of medical or other forms of physical treatment, as is sometimes believed. Doctors and therapists can work together to find the most appropriate treatment for you.

Conclusion

Migraines and sleep are inextricably linked, but it’s more sensitive than you might think! I try to get at least eight hours of sleep every night because sleep deprivation causes migraines in me.

If this is the case, work with your doctor to establish more effective bedtime practices.

Migraines can be a real pain. The good news is that you don’t have to put up with this discomfort forever.

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