What Are Migraines? Understanding the Interrelationship of Sleep Deprivation And Migraines Update 07/2024

Both our health and survival depend on a good night’s slumber. Several bodily processes, including our memory, learning, and immune systems, are regulated by sleep. Our emotions, as well as our organs including the brain, heart, and lungs, are all influenced by our quality of sleep. As a result, sleep deprivation can have a severe impact on these systems and lead to mental and physical health issues. Migraines and other types of headaches are among of the most debilitating conditions associated with insufficient sleep.

What Is Sleep Deprivation?

Sleep deprivation is different from insomnia, which happens when a person is unable to fall or stay asleep even if they have the time and environment for sleep. An inability to get enough sleep can be caused by a variety of factors, such as working jobs with irregular or lengthy hours that need little time for rest, substance addiction, anxiety, and other mental health issues. There are certain persons who suffer from sleep deprivation due of these restrictions. Others are able to get enough sleep, but they wake up frequently during the night, preventing them from getting the rest they need. Reduced cognitive performance and focus, excessive daytime sleepiness, mood swings, and issues with memory and decision-making are all associated with sleep deprivation, according to numerous studies. Numerous headache diseases have been connected to sleep loss in research studies. Migraine is the most common ailment that strikes people when they get up in the morning.

What Are Migraines?

Approximately 12 percent of the American population suffers from migraines. Recurrent headaches with moderate to severe throbbing or pulsing pain, usually confined to one side of the head, are known as tension headaches. Other typical side effects include nausea, weakness, and sensitivity to light and sound.

The presence or absence of an aura is used to further characterize migraines.

Other neurological symptoms, such as tingling, visual abnormalities, and loss of vision may also occur before or during migraines. Those with a history of migraines in their families are three times more likely than those without to suffer from the condition.

Does Sleep Deprivation Cause Migraines?

Headaches, such as migraines and tension-type, can be linked to a lack of sleep, as has long been shown by researchers. Migraine sufferers, on the other hand, are more prone than those with other types of headaches to report sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation has been demonstrated to enhance the severity and frequency of migraines, in addition to raising the risk of migraines.

How Does Sleep Deprivation Trigger Migraines?

Although further study is needed to completely understand the link between migraines and sleep deprivation, the two share similar brain pathways. As an example, neurons in the hypothalamus, which regulates sleep and arousal, also modulate pain. Our eyes send signals to the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the hypothalamus, which in turn helps us sync our sleeping patterns with the daily cycle of light and darkness. The sleep-wake cycle can be thrown off if the SCN is injured.

The pineal gland, located at the back of the brain, also plays an important role in sleep, since it produces the hormone melatonin, which aids in sleep in response to the passing of day into night.

Headaches and migraines have been related to a lack of melatonin in the bloodstream.

Can Other Sleeping Problems Trigger Migraines?

Research has shown that migraines can be triggered by both sleep loss and hypersomnia. While a good night’s sleep might help ease the pain of a migraine, sleeping too much can actually exacerbate the condition. There is a term called “weekend migraine” that is often used to describe migraines that arise when people sleep in on weekends to make up for sleep missed during the week.

The link between migraines and sleep deprivation is both one-way and two-way. This indicates that migraines can be triggered by sleep disturbances, but sleep disturbances can also be impacted by migraines. Our sleep-wake cycle may become disrupted as a result of migraine headaches.

Migraine vs. tension

Headaches caused by migraines can be excruciating and even debilitating at times. Among the signs and symptoms:

  • Headache that is almost always localized to one side of the skull.
  • hours to days of excruciating discomfort
  • light and sound sensitivity
  • nausea.
  • vomiting.

As a rule of thumb, the symptoms of a tension headache are mild to moderate, and they aren’t frequently exacerbated by light or sound.

Hemicrania continua and hypnic headaches, according to research from Trusted Source, can occur while you’re asleep. Migraine and tension headaches may be connected to a lack of sleep, but further research is needed.

Sleep-headache link

Headaches are more severe when people don’t get enough rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, according to a study from Missouri State University published in 2011. The rapid eye movements that occur during REM sleep give this phase of sleep its name. It occurs every 90 to 120 minutes during the night.

In addition, this stage of sleep is marked by:

  • increased dreaming
  • body movements
  • faster breathing
  • increased heart rate

Researchers believe REM sleep is essential for memory storage, learning, and mood management.

Chronic pain might be caused by a lack of sleep, according to the findings of a study published in 2011. Pain thresholds appear to be reduced by these proteins and migraine headaches may be triggered as a result.

A look back at the year that was Tension headaches have been linked by a reputable source to a lack of sleep.

Sleep-pain link

Anecdotal data suggests that sleep deprivation lowers one’s pain tolerance.

According to a 2015 studyTrusted Source, those who have trouble sleeping are more sensitive to pain than those who don’t.

106 seconds of immersion in cold water were requested from participants in a study. More insomniacs than non-insomniacs took their hand out of the ice-cold pool of water. Those who suffer from both sleeplessness and chronic discomfort were the most susceptible to the cold water.

I Woke Up With a Migraine. What Can I Do?

Migraine sufferers can take actions to lessen their symptoms, but there is no cure. A cool, wet cloth on your forehead, a glass of water, or an over-the-counter pain medicine may provide some comfort. Making your surroundings as peaceful as possible might also help. In the event that your migraines are frequent or severe, you should consult your doctor. It is possible for a healthcare provider to work with you to determine the cause of your migraines by examining your symptoms, discussing your medical history, and conducting physical or neurological examinations. Other migraine-relieving drugs may be prescribed by your doctor.

How Can I Prevent Future Migraines?

Sleep and migraines are clearly intertwined. Migraines and other headache diseases have been linked to both too little and too much sleep, so getting the appropriate amount of sleep is an important approach to tackle these issues. In order to maintain optimal health, the National Sleep Foundation suggests adults get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night. In order to have the best night’s sleep, it’s important to follow appropriate sleep hygiene. These are just a few strategies to help you get and keep a good night’s sleep.

  • Stick to a schedule: Even on the weekends, try to stick to a regular bedtime and wakeup schedule. In order to prevent migraines from occurring, it is important to have a regular sleep routine.
  • Avoid substances before bed: Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol can all have an impact on your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
  • Get comfy: Engage in soothing activities like reading, meditating, or listening to music before going to sleep. Your room should be maintained cool and comfy, and your mattress should be firm enough for you to sleep on.
  • Turn off the lights: Light emitted by electronic gadgets such as mobile phones, tablets and televisions can interrupt your circadian cycle and make it harder to fall asleep. You should turn off any electronic gadgets an hour or two before going to sleep, and avoid using them while you’re asleep.

Good sleep hygiene

Maintaining a regular sleep pattern is one of the simplest methods to avoid headaches. To help you get a good night’s rest, here are some suggestions:

  1. The quality of your sleep can be improved by engaging in regular physical activity. If you work out too close to bedtime, it can keep you awake. Before going to bed, make an effort to work out for at least three hours.
  2. At night, eat light and avoid overindulging. This will help you avoid indigestion or a sudden surge of energy that will keep you awake at night. –
  3. Schedule your sleep time. Getting a good night’s sleep and waking up feeling rested can be achieved by following a regular bedtime and wake-up schedule.
  4. During the day, be sure to get plenty of light. When there isn’t enough natural light, you may get more sleepy and your sleep-wake cycle may be disrupted.
  5. Before going to bed, limit your intake of stimulants like caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol by four to six hours. Your sleep may be disrupted by these things.
  6. Make sure your bedroom is dark, cool (but not too cold), quiet, and comfy so that you can get a good night’s sleep.
  7. Shop our verified goods for a better night’s slumber. Don’t leave anything in your room before night that could keep you awake. TVs, PCs, and other electronic devices are included in this category. Sleep and sex should be the only things you do in the bedroom.
  8. Establish a bedtime routine. An effective pre-sleep practice can help you wind down and prepare for restful sleep. Take a break from electronic devices at least an hour before going to sleep. Instead, relax by reading a book, meditating, or taking a bath!
  9. When you’re exhausted, don’t try to force yourself to go to sleep. If you aren’t weary by the time you usually go to bed, it’s worth it to wait another 30 minutes or an hour. Stress and frustration can ensue if you can’t sleep at night.
  10. Don’t overindulge in alcoholic beverages just before retiring for the night. Reduce your fluid intake so that you aren’t woken up in the middle of the night by the need to go to the restroom.

Treatment for headaches

Seeking therapy as soon as you get a tension or migraine headache due to a lack of sleep will help minimize the headache’s duration and severity.

Tension headache treatment

The pain of a tension headache can be alleviated with both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs. Among them:

  • Aspirin (Bufferin), ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen (Aleve) are examples of common pain medications.
  • Pain relievers and sedatives in a single pill, frequently labeled “PM” or “nighttime” on the label.
  • triptans, which are migraine medications prescribed by a doctor.

Your doctor may recommend the following to help prevent recurrent tension headaches:

  • Protriptyline and amitriptyline (Elavil) are examples of tricyclic antidepressants (Vivactil).
  • in addition to venlafaxine and mirtazapine, additional antidepressants (Remeron, Remeron Soltab).
  • Drugs that treat seizures, such as topiramate (Topamax), and drugs that relax muscles.

Migraine headache treatment

There is a more active treatment for migraine headaches than there is for tension headaches. There are a number of prescription and over-the-counter drugs that can help ease migraine symptoms:

  • Pain medicines such as aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen, such as Bufferin, Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve, may reduce the mild pain of migraines. Aspirin and caffeine-based migraine medications like Excedrin Migraine may be useful for moderate migraines.
  • The suppository form of the drug, indomethacin, is offered for those who are unable to take oral treatment due to nausea.
  • The brain’s pain pathways can be blocked with the use of triptans. This is because they bind to serotonin receptors and reduce the swelling of blood vessels. Prescription pills, nasal sprays, and injections are all forms of this medicine. Most people find Treximet, a combination of triptan and naproxen, to be highly beneficial in relieving their migraine symptoms.
  • Ergotamine and caffeine are commonly found in ergots, which are a type of medication. Constriction of the blood vessels is the mechanism by which this combination relieves pain. Taking them as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms is the best way to alleviate migraine headaches. Ergot medications such as dihydroergotamine (Migranal) are less likely to cause side effects than ergotamine.
  • Medicines for nausea such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine), metoclopramide (Reglan), and prochlorperazine (Compazine) can be helpful in treating nausea.
  • People who cannot use triptans or ergots typically turn to opioid pain treatments, including ones that contain opioids like codeine. These medications can be addictive and should not be taken for lengthy periods of time.
    Analgesics like prednisone and dexamethasone can help alleviate some of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

If you get migraines lasting more than 12 hours four or more times a month, the following drugs may help alleviate your pain:

  • Migraines may be prevented with the use of beta-blockers, which lessen the body’s response to stress chemicals.
  • migraines that cause vision issues may be prevented by taking calcium channel blockers, commonly used to treat high blood pressure.
  • Lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), a commonly used blood pressure drug, may shorten and lessen the intensity of migraine headaches.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline and venlafaxine have been shown to lower migraine frequency.
    In some cases, anti-seizure medication may lower the frequency of migraines.
  • Adults with chronic migraines may benefit from Botox injections in the forehead and neck. You may have to get another round of these injections in three months.
  • Aimovig (erenumab-aooe) is a drug that inhibits the function of a particular molecule that is linked to migraines. Migraine headaches can be reduced by injecting this drug once a month.

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