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Migraines & Headaches Health Center

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Do Your Sleep Habits Trigger Migraines?

Research suggests a link between sleep problems and migraines.

Do Your Sleep Habits Trigger Migraines?

How are your sleep habits? Do you have difficulty falling asleep? Do you toss and turn most of the night? Do you feel irritable, fatigued, and even depressed the next day after a rough night trying to sleep? Whether you suffer with migraines or not, non-restorative sleep and impairment of daytime function is a problem for millions of Americans.

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 activities.
  • I have felt depressed enough to seek psychiatric help or to obtain antidepressant medications.
  • 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 friends.

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 problems.

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.

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