Migraines and Headaches - Sleep Deficiency and Migraines

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How much and well do you sleep?

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Migraines and Headaches - Sleep Deficiency and Migraines

Post by Tee on Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:10 am

Pay attention to your sleeping habits and you'll lessen the odds and intensity of migraine headaches, say researchers.

The idea sounds almost too simple, and headache specialists have long advised their patients to heed what they term "good sleep hygiene." But a study by a University of North Carolina sleep specialist provides some scientific evidence that good sleep habits can reduce the number of headaches and their severity.

Migraine sufferers who cleaned up their act reduced their headache frequency by 29% and their headache intensity by 40% compared with those who didn't change their sleep habits, Anne Calhoun, MD, reported at the 48th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society in Los Angeles.

"We've been talking about sleep being a problem in migraine for 125 years, but no one has looked at behavior modification to fix it," Calhoun tells WebMD. Calhoun is an associate professor of neurology at the University of North Carolina Medical School.

"People with migraine say it affects their sleep," Calhoun says, "but it may be the other way around. They're having chronic migraines because they are not sleeping well."

In her study, she assessed 43 women with transformed migraine. That's a headache pattern in which occasional or episodic headaches become chronic -- defined as at least half of the days of the month. All the women were told they would be learning how to improve lifestyle habits such as diet, exercise, and sleep.


Changing Behavior

Calhoun assigned 23 women to the behavior-modification group. These women were told to schedule eight hours of time in bed each night, not to read or watch television or listen to music in bed, and to limit their fluid intake beginning two hours before bedtime. They also were taught how to use visualization to fall asleep quickly and were instructed to move dinnertime to four hours before bed to ensure sounder sleep.

The other women were assigned to the control group. They were told to schedule dinner at a consistent time each night and were taught to use an acupressure point that actually had no relationship to headache, Calhoun says.

All the women recorded their headaches in diaries.

"We instructed them to stop overusing medications," Calhoun says. "About three-quarters of the 43 women were overusing medications."

While headache specialists point to medication overuse as a factor in headaches becoming more chronic, "we feel there may be other important factors involved in the transformation process," Calhoun says. "Sleep problems may be one of these methods by which episodic headaches become chronic."

The women stayed on preventive medication throughout the study but were not to overuse any medications. And when a headache struck, they were allowed to use acute medication.

http://fmcfsme.com/article_headaches_sleep.php
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Re: Migraines and Headaches - Sleep Deficiency and Migraines

Post by Tee on Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:24 am

When I first had my TIA and went chronic - I could not sleep for toffee - I could fall a sleep pretty much straight away, but could not 'stay' alsleep and would wake every 30mins or so. I was put on Amitriptyline and that worked a treat. Smile In fact it knocked me out

I am now the complete opposite LOL - After taking so many drugs with 'sleepness' as a side effect - I can now sleep for England. I sleep an average of 8 hours per night and often go back to bed once the kids have gone to shcool and can sleep for another 5 hrs. If I do not go to bed after the kids have gone to school, I normally have to have an afternoon nap.

Of course as soon as a mig kicks in - I go to bed.

I would hate to add up the amount of time I spend in bed Shocked
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Re: Migraines and Headaches - Sleep Deficiency and Migraines

Post by whitzendJane on Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:08 am

I have the problem you mentioned Tee..get to sleep but can't stay asleep..mainly cause the migs wake me and I have a lot of severe night time attacks.

The only thing that has helped me stay unconscious is mirtazapine and it has decreased the severity of the pain a couple of notches. Without it I would be hitting 10's every day. Sleep does definately play a major role for me..the less I get the worse things are..but also the more I sleep the more attacks get...too....

However the longer I am comotose the better..even if I am still dreaming about the pain and mumbling whilst I do so Sleep

Jane
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Re: Migraines and Headaches - Sleep Deficiency and Migraines

Post by Sheena Hulston on Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:32 am

Oh Jane I've dreamt about the pain as well I've dreamt I woke up cause someone was pulling my teeth out, then woke up!!!! It was such a Painful dream.
I sleep all the time I get 9 hrs sleep at night then drop off for a nap in the day or anytime I sit down actually.
When I was first ill before meds that worked I would drop off then wake up in pain it was awful Jane how do you still cope?
Pitzotifen sorted me out back then.
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Re: Migraines and Headaches - Sleep Deficiency and Migraines

Post by whitzendJane on Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:25 am

I dunno..I go through phases of being angry then I cope OK for a while. A neuro psychologist helped me come to terms with it a lot better.

I accept things will be tougher some times more than others these days..the biggest bug bear is the loss of independence but I have promised myself I will work towards achievable goals. I am going to be seeing a pain management psychologist in August and they hope they can help me make a 'life plan'...pace myself more and set realistic targets so I can get more out of life.

Drugs and surgery are not an option for me (other than what I can be carefully monitored for at the moment)..but I have 2 fantastic little boys and I do believe I can manage my life better once I have some 'ground rules' about what is realistically attainable.

It's amazing what you can get used to lol!

J
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Re: Migraines and Headaches - Sleep Deficiency and Migraines

Post by Sarah on Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:32 pm

So true that it's amazing what you can get used to. I often wonder how I manage to sleep during my migs too. Also, it makes me realise how used I am to things when I get a new problem, like a cold - I totally flip out and claim I have 'man flu' - can't cope at all! Very Happy
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Re: Migraines and Headaches - Sleep Deficiency and Migraines

Post by Tee on Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:10 am

You are not alone there Sarah - I had a cold - a slight cold at that - last year and I thought I was going to die - just the irritant of having to deal with something else grrrrrr It just seems to knock the scale over the edge Sad
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