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The Connection Between Headaches and Sleep

The Connection Between Headaches and Sleep

One of the most common complaints we hear from patients suffering from chronic headaches is that they can’t fall asleep at night — and for good reason. Unfortunately, headaches and insomnia go hand in hand: a headache makes it difficult to fall asleep, while a lack of sleep can make headaches even worse.

Daytime Headache Triggers

  • Staring at your computer or other screens for too long
  • Dehydration
  • Poor posture, especially in your neck and shoulders
  • Fallen blood sugar
  • Emotional and mental stress

Managing a Nighttime Headache

One of the worst things you can do for a persistent headache is head to the medicine cabinet. Not only can continued use of over-the-counter medications make headaches worse over time, but many of them contain caffeine — a drug you don’t want to take after 3 p.m. if you have trouble falling asleep.

Instead, why not try:

  • Taking a short walk.
  • Getting a glass of water and a small, low-calorie snack.
  • Reading a chapter in a book.
  • Doing a quiet activity, like Sudoku or a puzzle.

What You Shouldn’t Do if You Suffer from Headache-Induced Insomnia

In many ways, what you don’t do is just as important as what you do, do. If you have trouble sleeping, don’t:

  • Play on your phone. It may seem like a fun way to pass the time, but screens can intensify a headache and wake your brain up.
  • Take a nap in the middle of the day. Especially when you haven’t slept in days, it can be tempting to take a nap in the middle of the day, but this will only make it harder to fall asleep at night.
  • Eat a large meal before bed. Does your family like to enjoy a big dinner? While lots of food can sometimes seem like a good way to induce sleep, it’s a temporary aid at best. Remember, food is what gives you energy. If you eat a big meal before bed, you will likely wake up in the middle of the night with lots of energy.

Do you have difficulty sleeping or find yourself feeling unrested in the morning? Give the experts at Valencia Sleep Care Center a call and learn how we can change your life by changing your sleep.