Migraine, a neurological disorder characterised by recurrent headaches, affects millions of people worldwide. For those who suffer from migraines, the pain can be debilitating and significantly reduce their quality of life. What’s more, it is a massively misunderstood disorder. While multiple factors can trigger migraines, one crucial aspect that often goes overlooked is how sleep impacts migraine. This blog explores the link between sleep and migraines, shedding light on how proper sleep patterns can alleviate or exacerbate migraine symptoms.
Migraine and sleep have a complex interplay, with each influencing the other. On one hand, poor sleep patterns can trigger migraines or increase their frequency and intensity. On the other hand, the throbbing pain and discomfort associated with migraines can disrupt sleep, leading to a vicious cycle that worsens both conditions. It really is a chicken and egg situation!
Sleep deprivation, irregular sleep schedules, and poor sleep quality have been identified as potential migraine triggers. Lack of sleep can disturb the fine balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to an increased sensitivity to pain and sensory stimuli—characteristic features of migraines. Indeed, inadequate can elevate stress levels and cause hormonal imbalances, further triggering migraine attacks.
Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, the stage of sleep where dreaming occurs, has also been linked to migraines. Some researchers suggest that a decrease in REM sleep can contribute to the development of migraines. However, the exact mechanisms behind this connection are yet to be fully understood. Nevertheless, maintaining healthy sleep patterns that allow for sufficient REM sleep may be beneficial for migraineurs.
Sleep apnea, a condition characterised by interrupted breathing during sleep, has been found to be more prevalent in individuals with chronic migraines. The repeated drops in oxygen levels associated with sleep apnea can trigger migraines and exacerbate their frequency. Treating sleep apnea through medical intervention or lifestyle changes may, in turn, improve migraine management. So if you haven’t considered it already it is worth checking out whether this could be a potential problem for you. Most people are unaware that they have sleep apnea.
Try to stick to a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Yep, it’s a bummer we know, but it’s really important to be rigid about your sleep schedule. Create a sleep-conducive environment by ensuring your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet. Limit the use of electronic devices before bedtime, as the blue light emitted by screens can disrupt sleep patterns.
Stress is a huge trigger for both migraines and sleep disturbances. Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, exercise or mindfulness to reduce stress levels and promote better sleep.
If your mattress has seen better days and is not conducive to a great night's sleep then investing in a new one can have a huge impact. A good, supportive mattress is essential for everyone and even more so for those suffering with any kind of disorder. You'd be surprised at how much a mattress can impact your sleep. You can read our buying guide here.
If you suspect that sleep disturbances are impacting your migraines, consider consulting your doctor for help. They can help assess your sleep patterns, identify potential sleep disorders, and recommend appropriate interventions.
The effects of sleep on migraines cannot be underestimated. For those living with migraines, achieving better sleep quality and establishing healthy sleep patterns can be a game-changer. By understanding the intricate link between sleep and migraines and making conscious efforts to break the cycle, individuals can take significant steps towards improving their overall well-being and reducing the impact of migraines. Remember, a good night's sleep is not just a luxury; it is a vital component of a healthy and migraine-free life.