Do Your Sleep Habits Trigger Migraines?
Research suggests a link between sleep problems and migraines.
Do Your Sleep Habits Trigger Migraines? continued...
Not only do sleep problems wreak havoc on mood and decision-making
abilities, but poor sleep habits also result in feelings of malaise, poor
concentration, and even accidental deaths, according to Ronald R. Fieve, MD,
professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, and
author of Bipolar II.
When trying to isolate signs of sleep problems, Fieve gives the following
eight statements to patients. If you check more than two of the statements
below, call your doctor and seek help for your sleepproblem:
- I have a headache in the morning upon getting out of bed.
- I feel scattered aches and pains throughout my body upon arising.
- I feel fatigue or tiredness that does not go away even after several large
cups of strongly caffeinated coffee.
- I feel in a low mood that does not lift even as I get on with daily
- I have felt depressed enough to seek psychiatric help or to obtain
- I feel irritable, impatient, and moody.
- I have trouble learning new information or grasping new ideas.
- I often have an inability to maintain social harmony with family and
Will Better Sleep Habits Stop Your Migraines?
While no one can guarantee that better sleep habits will result in fewer
migraines, there are some practical ways to get in control of your sleep
Start by keeping track of your sleep habits and migraine patterns each
morning for four weeks. Using a small calendar or diary, write down how you
slept each night and record if you had a migraine. After reviewing your sleep
habits and migraine diary over four weeks, you may begin to notice a pattern of
sleep problems triggering migraines. Even if you don't notice a pattern,
continue to work on your sleep habits so you feel better and are able be more
alert and productive at work and at home.
Sleep Problems With Migraines: Do You Need a Sleep Study?
While researchers are still trying to determine the connection between sleep
habits and migraine, REM sleep abnormalities have been implicated in a variety
of problems, including depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. Sleep
problems are also common in those with fibromyalgia, which is characterized by
its deep muscle pain, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Coincidentally,
migraines are common in those with fibromyalgia, with 50% to 75% of sufferers
also reporting migraine headaches.
If your doctor suspects you might have sleep problems such as sleep apnea,
restless legs syndrome, or other sleep problems, your doctor may recommend a
sleep study or polysomnography. With a sleep study, sleep specialists evaluate
your sleep habits at an overnight facility, administering ongoing tests,
including an electroencephalogram (EEG), which monitors electrical activity of
the brain, oxygen levels, airflow, and other physiological functions.