Headaches & Sleep Problems


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As with most sleep problems and sleep-related problems it is again unclear as to which comes first, sleepless nights or headaches. It echoes the question, what came first the egg or the chicken? However, regardless of which came first the two problems can, if left untreated, antagonize and worsen each other. This is seen particularly in the case of migraines as disturbed sleep is thought to sometimes trigger migraine attacks.

Easing Migraines with Sleep

The relationship between sleep and headaches does have a loving side with the fact that most migraine sufferers feel that if they are experiencing symptoms that suggest an attack may be on its way, a deep sleep nap, may prevent the migraine from developing fully. Equally, if you do suffer a migraine attack, a deep sleep will often naturally ease off the migraine.

Migraines/Headaches caused by Sleeping Problems

If the migraine comes first, sleep helps, but if the sleepless nights come first, then the migraine or headache may follow. If you are suffering from sleepless nights and are finding that you are experiencing more headaches/migraines, you should monitor you sleeping patterns, try changing your sleeping habits (read Factors Affecting Sleeping Patterns), and try producing a sleep diary. If adjusting your lifestyle does not help, then you should consult your doctor, and an awareness of your sleeping pattern will help a great deal as it could mean the right diagnosis of your sleeping problem.

If sleeping disorders are the cause of sleeping disruption and possible developments of headcahes, there may be solutions available for the sleeping disorder, which will in turn help with the relief of some of the headaches. Thus, if a sleeping disorder is the primary problem then treating/controlling it, in most cases, will relieve many of the headache symptoms.

Children & Migraines

Children who suffer from migraines are also more likely to suffer from disrupted nights, experiencing difficulty in getting to sleep, waking-up frequently, daytime sleepiness, and in some cases parasomnias. Therefore, if you know your child suffers from headaches/migraines frequently, it would also be recommeneded to monitor their sleeping pattern and consult a doctor.

Sleep Problems & Teeth Grinding

Please note that if you are waking up with a different kind of ache in your head, e.g. your jaw, ear, neck is hurting, you could be suffering from a different kind of sleep-related problem such as tooth grinding or sleep bruxism. Again, as with all events that can happen during your sleep, they can affect your waking life, so if you wake with a frequent aches or pains, it is vital that you monitor them and seek advice. Dentists often recommend a night time splint, to stop you form being able to grind your teeth.


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