Banner Health Services  

Sleep patterns and migraines


Michael Eichenberg, manager of the Banner Desert Sleep Center in Mesa, Ariz.

Question: Could my sleep patterns be causing an increase in my migraines?

Answer: Sleep and headache specialists often advise their patients that practicing good sleep hygiene can change the frequency and intensity of migraines. But what is good sleep hygiene?

  • Schedule seven to eight hours of rest every night.
  • Stick to a regular schedule of bedtimes and wake times.
  • Move dinnertime to four hours before bed. This will help ensure sounder sleep and is often beneficial for your waistline as well.
  • To prepare for bedtime, find a soothing activity like reading or listening to calming music. Don't read in bed, however; use your bed for sleeping.
  • Keep your bedroom cool and dark.
  • Having white noise like a fan or a sound machine may help drown out racing thoughts or stress when trying to fall asleep.
  • The bed is for sleeping; keep the pets, kids, computers, phones and Jay Leno out of it.

Research has shown that sleep problems can cause sporadic headaches to become a more chronic condition. Repeated hypoxemia and sleep deprivation commonly associated with obstructive sleep apnea can be the primary cause of morning headaches. If you are waking up or can't fall asleep due to chronic headaches or migraines, please consult your physician.

Page Last Modified: 05/16/2011
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