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The Relationship between Sleep and Headaches

Sleep and headaches are two parts of a vicious cycle of pain. Doctors and headache experts have stated that lack of sleep may contribute to the occurrence of headaches and headaches have been known to disrupt sleep. If a person continuously experience sleep deprivation, the frequency of headaches will increase and the cycle continues.

There are several headache types that are most affected by lack of sleep. These conditions may cause a person to experience moderate to severe pain, oftentimes painful enough to wake a person up from sleep. Here are some of the headache types that are affected by our sleep patterns:

  • Migraine Headaches – This headache condition affects a big chunk of the population, most of them being women. Most headache patients find that sleep can help ease the pain of a migraine; however, there are cases where migraine patients experience a sub-type of this condition that occurs during sleep. In some cases, sleep can be disrupted due to the severity of the pain.
  • Morning Headaches – Many people experience headaches when they wake up in the morning. There are many causes for morning headaches, but the most common is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition when a person stops breathing during sleep and often wakes up to catch his or her breath. The best way to treat morning headaches is to identify what causes the sleep disruption and treat it in order to get a more restful sleep at night.
  • Hypnic Headaches – This type of headache is quite rare. It affects mostly elderly people and occurs almost always during sleep. The headaches occur each night at around the same time and can last from half an hour up to two hours. The pain experienced is moderate and can be treated with certain medications; however, the pain is enough to wake a person up one or more times a night.
  • Cluster Headaches – This chronic headache condition occurs in cycles or clusters, hence the name. This condition affects a lot of people, but patients diagnosed with cluster headaches are predominantly male. The pain of a cluster headache can be so intense that it’s considered by many as debilitating. Many people who experience this type of headache reported to have experienced this type of headache at night or during sleep.
  • Stress Headaches – Lack of sleep can cause our muscles, especially in the neck and shoulder area to tense up. It can also leave us feeling exhausted and stressed. Getting enough sleep at night can reduce the tension we feel in our bodies, making it easier to avoid the pain brought on by a stress headache. In order to avoid experiencing stress headaches, make it a point to exercise and perform some relaxation exercises to make it easier to have a good night’s sleep.

No matter how busy you are, you must make sure that you manage to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Not only will you have enough energy throughout the day, you can also experience fewer headaches.

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