Why does sleep help migraines? - Migraine sleep it off

What is the relationship between sleep and migraine? Why does sleep help migraines? In this post, we are going to know the complex relationship between sleep and migraine. Also, that sleep true freind or arc enemy for a migraine sufferer.

why does sleep help migraines


Good sleep is a must have for a migraine sufferer. Better sleep means fewer and less painful migraines. And during a migraine attack sleep is one of the most helpful things one can do.

The relation between sleep and migraine

The relationship between sleep and migraine is complex but they are closely associated. Sleep patterns of a person can also cause a migraine. Further, change in sleep pattern can trigger migraine attacks. And the frequency of migraine attack is high in case of sleep disorder.

I have also experienced that some times I some get migraine attacks because I didn't have a proper sleep the previous night. Many times due to work or night long travel, I am not able to sleep properly. And the next day is welcomed by head-hurting migraine. 

So, it can be said that a regular good sleep keeps migraine away but is there is any irregularity in your sleep pattern. 

Can sleep help with migraines?

The short answer -Yes. Sleep can be an important combatant against migraines and headaches. Research done on 32 people with persistent headaches and migraines, 81 percent of them said that the most common strategy they follow to get rid of a migraine is to go to sleep. 

Yet in another research done on 75 migraineurs, 90 percent of them reported that trying to sleep is an effective way to get rid of the migraine attack. 

Thus sleep is the most common migraine relief tactic for most of the migraine sufferers. And it does help with migraine attacks.

Why does sleep help migraines?

But why does sleep help migraines? Well, pain is controlled by the same area that controls pain. And that is the reason sleep and migraine is so interconnected. The more you sleep, the better you get at managing the pain caused by migraine emotionally and physically. 

On the other hand, lack of sleep can make migraine more painful and unbearable.

Migraines are also related to REM sleep. 

REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement. Each night a healthy person with a normal sleep pattern goes through 4 to 5 sleep cycles. These cycles are namely light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep.

People enter the REM stage within 90 minutes after falling asleep. But if have a sleep disorder or disturbed sleep pattern then you'll have less REM.


During REM, pain-managing neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine are released. If you do get proper sleep, these pain managing chemicals will be realized, meaning more painful migraine later in the day.

So when we sleep during migraines, these chemicals are released. They help with the pain caused by the migraine. Therefore, taking rest is a must during migraine attacks.

Tips for sleeping with migraine

Here are some tips for sleeping to avoid migraines and how to sleep during migraines.

1. Follow a regular sleep schedule

Every day, go to sleep and wake up on a scheduled time. Know your time to go to sleep and put an alarm to wake up. Initially, it may be had to follow the schedule, you may not feel sleepy or you may wake up late but stick to the schedule.

Following regular sleep schedule will entrain your circadian rhythm to a regular schedule. So your mind will naturally make you feel sleeper.

Another benefit of sleeping and waking up on time is that it will ensure that you get proper sleep. As I said earlier in the post, lack of sleep and restless can trigger a migraine. So, getting good sleep in a must for every migraine sufferer.

2. Put your phones and laptop away

Do not use a mobile phone or laptop at night before falling asleep. Using a mobile phone while lying on the bed at night prevents you from falling asleep. Also, the light from the screen of the phone can act as a trigger for migraine.  

3. Do not oversleep

Do not oversleep. Lack of proper sleep can act as a trigger for migraines. Similarly, Oversleep is not good for migraine either. In fact, oversleeping can also cause migraine in some people. 

In my case, both, lack of sleep and oversleep acts as a migraine trigger. And I have to be really careful about my sleeping patterns.

So, avoid sleeping for too long. Stick to your schedule, wake up on time, maintain your sleep pattern.

4.Cool off

If cooling helps then lower your room temperature. Cold therapy is often used as a migraine treatment. And people often find it helpful.

5. Use eye mask

Use an eye mask to fall asleep fast. Eye masks are also helpful during migraines. Especially cold therapy masks. They block the light falling on the face.

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6. Stay comfortable

Be relaxed. try head or neck massager before sleeping if it helps. Use a soft and comfortable pillow to support your head. you may even try head massagers and ice packs for the neck. These things are especially useful during a migraine attack. So do consider have ice packs and cold foam pillows.

Final words

So, we can say that sleep is really helpful for migraine sufferers. If you get frequent migraine attacks then I would suggest you improve your sleep pattern. Also, choose a dark room to sleep and avoid light and sound if you are very sensitive. Keep yourself isolated till the migraine is gone and you feel better.








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