Why do I so often wake with a Migraine attack?
Dear Dr. Watson and Teri;
First, thank you for taking your time to answer questions for patients. I appreciate having a place to pose a question and receive a truly informative answer. 🙂
The preventive treatments my doctor has prescribed have helped tremendously reduce the number of Migraine attack I get. Now, when they happen it seems that I usually wake with a Migraine attack. I’ve been keeping a Migraine diary, but haven’t been able to spot the triggers for these morning Migraines. I’m stumped. Do you have any suggestions for why I so often wake with a Migraine attack?
Thank you for your excellent question. You’re not alone in your situation.
One of the most common reasons for people to wake with a Migraine attack is for a sleep issue to be the trigger. There are a number of sleep related issues that can be Migraine triggers:
- too little sleep
- too much sleep
- disrupted sleep
- poor quality sleep
- undiagnosed and/or untreated sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, periodic limb movement disorder, and others
- an irregular sleep schedule
Migraine brains tend to react badly to change and irregular schedules. Many people with Migraine find that they do better when they get up and go to bed at the same time every day, including weekends and holidays. Lamps, televisions, and other things that produce light should be turned off during sleep because light disrupts the body’s natural process of replenishing melatonin during sleep.
Even patients who think they’re sleeping well sometimes have sleep issues that need to be addressed. When patients often wake with a Migraine attack, a sleep study can be helpful in either diagnosing or ruling out sleep issues. If you haven’t already explored this possibility with your doctor, it could be a good question for your next appointment.
You may also find this article helpful: Waking Up with Migraine May Signal Sleep Apnea.
We hope this helps,
Dave Watson and Teri Robert
Ask the Clinician is available to answer questions about Migraine and other headache disorders, including behavioral interventions and other non-pharmacological treatment options. If you have a question, there’s a good chance someone else is wondering the same thing. The answer to your question will benefit everyone.
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