Why are you still up? Oh, that’s right. You have a blinding headache that won’t let you rest. A migraine at night is the worst, isn’t it?
Don’t worry; you’re not alone. There are millions of people out there that have the same problem you do, and all they want to do is get some shut-eye.
Migraines are tough to beat, though, and some of them have underlying emotional causes that it would be nice to get to the root of if you’re actually serious about beating the headache monster that loves to harass you and make you toss and turn at night, grasping your head and screaming at the ceiling for sweet relief.
Perhaps your plight isn’t as drastic as that. Either way, soothing the savage noggin is a necessary step in the tricky process of falling asleep at night.
But how does one do it, exactly?
How can you get sufficient rest and get rid of the headache that is slowly driving you mad?
These are the questions that keep many people awake at night – so much so that it’s making their heads hurt. What should these desperate sleep seekers do when faced with the unrelenting pain of an unwanted migraine at night? (Ask your friends from the Sleep Advisor.)
Since we just can’t watch you suffer anymore, we decided to write a piece that will help you gain some resolution, comfort, and much-needed relief so you can catch all the Zs you deserve tonight.
5 tips on how to sleep with a migraine or headache:
- Get an understanding of potential causes
- Keep a headache diary
- Use melatonin
- Avoid trigger foods
Be aware of potential causes
One of the most frustrating things about migraines is that they can appear to arise out of the blue; causing people even more pain by catching them unaware. However, by understanding when you might be more likely to experience migraines, you can be prepared.
For instance, a recent study published by a leading journal on migraine showed that most migraine attacks occur in the early morning. Over 3000 participants were interviewed, the results of which showed that most migraineurs are “early birds”, who find it difficult to copy with changes in sleep patterns. If this sounds familiar, and if your migraine is worse in the mornings, try getting up early on a consistent basis. Avoid caffeine, which can make the attack more severe, and make sure you’ve gotten to bed early so that you’ve had enough sleep before your circadian rhythms wake you pre-dawn.
Another thing you can try is to protect yourself from the effects of light. It’s extra important for migraine patients to not disrupt their sleep-wake schedule. One way you can mess up your sleep-wake schedule is exposure to blue light in the evening.
Axon glasses could help you shield you from this. By wearing them in the evening, you can protect yourself from the effects of digital light from screens, which could help you sleep better.
Overall, light sensitivity to light tends to be a big problem for people with migraine. In 1997, U.K. researchers compared 52 migraine sufferers and 48 non-migraine-sufferers and recorded how they responded when exposed to increasing light and sound levels. They learned that migraine patients had significantly lower tolerance for both light and sound than those who don’t get migraines.
Fortunately, researchers Dr. Bradley Katz and Dr. Kathleen Digre of University of Utah Health Sciences found that migraine patients are not sensitive to all light wavelengths — just some of them. They learned that specially-tinted lenses, like those available from Axon Optics, are effective in filtering out the offending types of light, alleviating migraine pain and frequency.
Express yourself and manage your pain
This might sound silly or counterintuitive to some people, but if you’re suffering from repeated migraines and notice that it might be from having too many emotions or responsibilities on your plate, expressing your innermost thoughts, worries, fears, and desires in some way, shape, or form just might be the ticket to resolving this ongoing issue.
Also, it’s helpful to track other activities throughout your day, too, to see if anything triggers your migraines.
Therefore, we suggest keeping what’s called a “headache diary” or a “headache journal”.
This is a good tool to help you observe your behavior and get to the real root of your migraine’s causes. In sleep diaries, you keep track of things like what kinds of foods and drinks you had during the day, if you exercised, how long you slept the night before, how stressed out you were feeling, when and where the headache started, if you took anything to help it, and so on.
The more you do this, the more you’ll start to notice a pattern that emerges, which leads to a more long-lasting resolution than any over-the-counter sleep aid can provide. You may even find that your migraine at night becomes a thing of the past.
Take Melatonin for a sweeter slumber
And here we were dissing on sleep aids just now.
Melatonin isn’t a sleep aid, necessarily; it’s a hormone.
Melatonin naturally occurs in the body. That means it’s already in your system. Taking an extra dose of it through pill (or chocolate) form helps you get to sleep and resets your circadian rhythm in the process.
In fact, taking Melatonin on a regular basis when you’re head isn’t about to split open is recommended if you’re serious about becoming a sleep enthusiast.
Self-massage for migraine at night
On occasion, headaches and migraines can be alleviated by massaging the temple region, or the temporalis muscles, which are known to carry a lot of stress and tension. Headaches caused by these muscles are extremely common.
The temporalis muscles are located on both sides of your head, around your upper jaw, over the top of your ear, and also back behind your ear. Feel along these locations gently with your fingers, gently massaging away any tension or pain you feel. Have a spontaneous yawn marathon and keep yawning over and over again to stretch out these muscles. Not only will this relax you, but it will also relieve the pressure behind your headache. Massaging the oculi muscles around your eyebrows is also a well-known lifesaver. Making self-massage a part of your bedtime routine may even prevent migraines at night so you can get some much-needed sleep.
Avoid trigger foods
Believe it or not, there’s a metric ton of foods and beverages out there you may need to avoid eating during the day if you don’t want to lie awake with a painful migraine throughout the night.
Here’s just a few of the major known migraine trigger foods: cheddar cheese, sourdough breads, chocolate, snow peas, figs, bananas, more than two cups of coffee and tea, anything containing MSG, some citrus fruits, pepperoni, salami, alcoholic drinks, pizza, and anything fermented and/or pickled.
Wow, that’s a lot of food.
This all depends on your body chemistry and how it reacts to these foods, though, so pay attention to what your body is telling you. The elimination diet for migraine is a great way to identify the food triggers that are unique to you.
Well, that about sums it up for our list of helpful sleeping tips for all of those readers out there who suffer from migraines while they’re trying to sleep. We hope this has enlightened you and helped you get some shut eye tonight. Sweet dreams!
Hey, sleep fans! I’m Sar ah. Since suffering from chronic sinusitis last year, I became much more conscious of measures I could take in my daily life to ease my headaches. And the more I researched/tried out, I noticed that my sleep began to improve, too! Now I practice yoga and meditation every day and make sure to catch a few waves at the weekend. And come night-time, I sleep like a baby!