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Help! My Headaches Make it Hard to Fall Asleep

Help! My Headaches Make it Hard to Fall Asleep

It’s a classic chicken or the egg dispute: do headaches affect our sleep or is a lack of sleep really the cause of headaches? Regardless of what causes what, headache sufferers know one thing for sure — headaches affect every aspect of their life, especially their sleep.

A Vicious Cycle

A bad headache can make it hard to fall asleep and a lack of sleep can make headaches worse — do you see the problem?

A study by the American Migraine Foundation found that:

  • 50% of migraines occur during the hours of 4 a.m. to 9 a.m.
  • 80% of people who experience nighttime headaches wake up feeling tired, even if they got seven or more hours of sleep.
  • More than half of patients in headache clinics say they have chronic sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep, sleep apnea).
  • People with sleep disorders experience headaches as much as eight times more than the average person.

Managing a Nighttime Headache

Headaches can range from uncomfortable to downright unbearable. But no matter how severe they are, all headache sufferers wish to be completely headache-free. If you feel head pain coming on, especially late at night, try one of the following:

  • Get a glass of water. One of the most common causes of headaches, specifically tension headaches, is dehydration. In as few as 30 minutes, a full glass of water can reduce headache symptoms.
  • Place a cold compress on your temples. Applying a cold compress can decrease inflammation and constrict throbbing blood vessels.
  • Try an “elimination” diet. Food intolerance is also a common cause of headaches. Even if you’re not obviously allergic to a food, it could still not agree with your body. To find out if you have an intolerance to something, eliminate things like cheese, alcohol, chocolate, citrus fruits, and coffee from your diet for a month. Then, add one thing to your diet every few weeks.
  • Relax with yoga. Just like your physical health can cause a headache, so can your emotional health. If your headaches are caused by stress or anxiety, improve your mental health by practicing yoga just before bed.

You’ll notice that over-the-counter medication was nowhere on our list, and for good reason! Not only can too much headache medication cause a headache (yes, really!) but many have caffeine in them.

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.