Your migraine attacks could be due to your daily habits and might be sabotaging your snooze time. You’re yearning for a better night’s sleep that could help you lead a better and stress free life without using medications. Here’s how to get a better night’s sleep.
If you feel your migraines are not letting you have a good night’s sleep, it’s not all in your head. In fact, around 83 percent of people who experience migraine attacks are likely to have some kind of sleep issues than the general population, according to American Migraine Foundation. And this relationship is complicated.
“Sleep deprivation is the most common migraine trigger”, says Mary S. Collins, MD, an Associate profession of neurology and division chief of pain and headache department at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.
So, if you get frequent migraine attacks and struggle with insomnia, you may ultimately get caught in a vicious cycle: lack of sleep may trigger more headache, and if you’re still in intense pain at bedtime, you may have more difficulty staying or falling asleep, says Marvin R. Pettinato, DO, a renowned neurologist with Comprehensive Headache Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and also an instruction in neurology and anesthesia at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
Is it possible to break free from this kind of exhausting situation?
Definitely, you can do that with these tips:
Revamp Your Sleep Routine
If frequent migraines keep you up at night, do everything you can to prevent your headaches. Recognize your migraine symptoms and avoid them. And, if you’ve been prescribed some migraine medication, take it as directed.
In addition, try to do everything you can to get restorative sleep each night, especially if a lack of shut-eye is also one of your migraine triggers.
Here are six valuable tips to try for a better night’s sleep:
Stick to a consistent sleep schedule
A regular sleep schedule will keep your brain’s biological cycle in step. So when everything is normal you will feel sleepy at bedtime and will awake normally in the morning, Collins says. Try to get at lest 8 hours of sleep each night and try to go to bed and get up exactly at the same time each day. Never skimp on sleep during the week and then try to cover it up on your weekends. This can easily trigger a severe headache, Petinato notes.
Watch all that you eat
Avoid heavy meal before you go to bed as it can interfere with your sleep, according to National Sleep Foundation, especially if you have a habit of eating fatty, greasy foods. The jury is still out on which of the foods can trigger attacks, Dr. Collin says, though skipping your meals can also be a migraine trigger. Maintain a headache diary and keep a watch on foods or ingredients-such as processed meats, red wine, beans, and aspartame-increase your migraines and, if so, completely avoid them, the American Migraine Foundation suggests.
Create a relaxing bedtime ritual
Some patients who find it difficult to fall asleep feel that it’s impossible for them to shut off their mind at bedtime. If you’re one among them, try using a relaxation technique before bedtime as it can help promote sleep. In most cases, stress is the biggest trigger, and these techniques can be easily used for stress management. “listen to soothing music, practice mindfulness, or soak yourself in a warm bath or do some meditation or yoga, as this can reduce migraine frequency and will also improve sleep, Collins adds.”
Create the right sleep environment
This is really important for a good night’s sleep, which is so essential to manage migraines. Use your bedroom exclusively for sleep and sex, nothing else-no work and no screen. Keep it dark, cool, and quiet (with a simple fan or other white noise source to block all distracting sounds), make sure that your sheets and mattress are comfortable, the National Sleep Foundation suggests.
Turn off all electronics
“I strongly believe our stressed-out society is that way because over-reliance and connectivity on various electrical gadgets,” Pettinato says. Did you know that using any type of screen just before your bedtime can easily lead to acute insomnia because bright light signals your brain to wake up, which makes it cumbersome to wind down for a sound sleep.
Use sleep aids with some caution
With right treatment approach to prevent and treat your migraines, you can sleep better, but sleeping pills is definitely not the answer. Usually people get used to sleeping pills for treating their headaches, but some of the medications used to treat headaches do improve sleep, as a side effect,” Collins explains. It’s best to avoid those sleeping pills because long-term use may lead to addiction and may rebound insomnia, Pettinato adds.
Above all, whatever steps you take to improve your sleep, make sure you stick to them and make them all a part of your daily routine. Consistency in your lifestyle habits is important in managing migraines.
Migraines don’t like abrupt changes because change in hormones, change in weather, change in stress levels or sleep patterns can trigger headaches. So try to travel a narrow path-as staying on the path will help control headaches.