Migraines and Sleep: Causes and Management of Sleep Induced Migraines

Wish Your Sleep was Pain free?

The worst way to start your day is with a migraine.  There is nothing quite like waking up to a stabbing, squeezing painful sensation.  Personally it ruins the rest of my day, even if I get rid of the migraine, because I either end up with pain all day, or the fear it will return!

Because this happens to me so often I decided to check out the research to see what I could find out about the relationship between migraines and sleep.  It is time to stop the morning migraine!

As is common with migraines, there is not a ton of research on the exact reasons for a migraine, but there is enough that you can create a plan to manage your migraines and sleep.

Reasons for Waking Up With a Migraine

There are a few reasons that you can wake up with a migraine.  Those are:

  • Withdrawal – from medications and caffeine
  • Allergies/Sinus pain
  • Too much or too little sleep
  • Hangover from a good night
  • Irregular sleep schedule
  • Rebound headaches

There are also very serious reasons why you may be waking with a migraine and you should check with your doctor if they continue for too long or get worse.  These include: brain tumors, sleep apnea and severe high blood pressure.  When we are used to migraines we can sometimes put off doctor visits when it is a serious issue, because we lump it in with all the other migraines we deal with.  If nothing works to fix waking up with a migraine, go to your doctor.

Too Much, Too Little and Irregular Sleep and Migraines

I want to spend a bit more time on these items because this is where most of the research is done.  What I have found is that if you don’t get the right amount of sleep, specifically REM sleep then your body begins creating extra proteins which regulate nerves which they believe impact migraines.  In addition it activate a protein that initiations chronic pain.

At the same time the body begins creating proteins that impact migraines, our bodies are producing the least amount of natural painkillers.  From 4 am to 8 am our bodies are not producing as many painkillers as throughout the rest of the day.  Add onto that adrenalin is released in larger quantities during the morning which impacts blood pressure and the regulation of our blood vessels and you get one killer migraine!

Prevention of Sleep Migraines

  • Withdrawal – try to reduce the amount of medications and caffeine that your body is taking in.  With less to withdrawal from the less your body has a chance to take on a migraine due to withdrawal.
  • Allergies/Sinus pain – when laying down it is easier for our sinus to clog up, causing pressure and a migraine.  I take my allergy medicine at bed time and some nights prop myself up on two pillows so that there is more drainage away from the nasal area.
  • Hangover – don’t drink as much!  Also drink water before and between drinks and B vitamins have been show to help with recovery.
  • Too much or too little sleep – the most important thing you can do to eliminate sleep migraines is to have a regular sleep schedule and to make sure that you are getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night.  Sleep is critical for our bodies to heal and operate the right way.  When you are prone to migraines and your body does not get the right amount of sleep then it is easy for it to get a migraine.  Set a time that you always go to sleep and wake up and create an environment that allows for good sleep!  Work for healthy sleep.

You can control many of the triggers behind migraines and sleep, so start today and create a sleep plan that eliminates your sleep migraines!