Studies have long shown that there’s a connection between sleep and migraines. Many migraine sufferers report that they don’t feel refreshed when they wake and that they still feel tired. Sleep problems are very prevalent in individuals who experience migraines. Some people even deal with a specific type of migraine that is often referred to as a sleep migraine, since it takes place during sleep, often awakening the person experiencing it. Here’s a closer look at sleep migraines, their triggers, and how they can affect you.
A sleep migraine is a term that refers to nighttime headaches that awaken people from their sleep. Some people even experience what’s known as “alarm clock” headaches, which begin during sleep and generally occur at the same time nearly every night. These nighttime headaches can vary in severity, and the treatments used for them depend on the severity and frequency of the headaches.
Some researchers think that rapid eye movement (REM) sleep may be a trigger for sleep migraines. REM sleep is very powerful right before you wake up. Dealing with sleep problems may result in lower dopamine levels and unstable serotonin levels, which may result in migraines. Not getting enough sleep or the quality sleep you need can be an underlying trigger for this type of migraines.
Poor sleep habits can make these migraines even more of a problem, increasing the occurrence of sleep headaches. In many cases, improving sleep habits and hygiene can reduce the frequency of these types of headaches, but it’s important to have any migraines accurately diagnosed by a specialist. People who sleep less than six hours each night have the highest risk of experiencing more frequent and more severe headaches. However, in some individuals, too much sleep may trigger these migraines.
It’s not exactly known how many people are affected by sleep migraines. However, studies have shown that approximately 80% of migraine sufferers do have sleep problems, and sleep problems and disturbances increase the chance of dealing with this type of migraine.
Many people who deal with sleep migraines are awakened from their sleep with moderate to severe headache pain. This throbbing ache usually comes on suddenly. Others may just wake up with the headache in the morning. In many cases, the head pain is also accompanied by other symptoms, including sensitivity to noise or light, nausea, and vomiting. Some people may also experience visual disturbances with these migraines.
If you deal with migraines that awaken you from your sleep or you often wake up with a migraine, you need to see a specialist for an accurate diagnosis. A specialist can diagnose your headaches and come up with the right treatment for your unique situation. Contact our office today to set up your consultation.
You can learn more about Dr. Smith’s treatment for sleep migraines by calling the Smith Center today at (713) 795-0600.