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Migraine – Right Amount of Sleep

November 17, 2021


There’s a close relationship between sleep and migraines. Research has found that not only too little sleep – sleep deprivation – but also too much – sleep hypersomnia – can trigger migraines. Migraines need to find that “Goldilocks zone” – the right amount of time spent sleeping – in order to relieve their symptoms. Excessive sleepiness can also be an early phase indicator of a migraine, or it can be a symptom following a migraine attack. It’s a complicated relationship that sleep and migraines have. Not only do sleep deprivation and hypersomnia trigger migraines, but the migraine itself can make it difficult to sleep. Shift work and jet lag have a significant negative impact on developing good sleep habits and can therefore contribute to an increased frequency and intensity of migraines. In order to help someone with migraines, it’s important to discuss their sleep habits. In particular, it’s important to help them develop good sleep hygiene. They need to learn how to create an environment and develop a routine that promotes sleep. For instance, I tell my patients that the bedroom is a place for sleep and sex. They need to get the electronics out of the room, including TVs, laptops, and phones. I tell them that in order to prepare their brains and bodies to sleep, they should start dimming the lights in their home during the evening. Their last caffeinated drink should be six to eight hours prior to going to bed. They should go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. They should have their last meal three to four hours prior to going to bed. It’s important for everyone – but especially migrainers – to develop good sleep hygiene, so that way they can get their body and brain ready for sleep.

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