Quality sleep is important to your physical and mental health, but getting any kind of sleep can be difficult when you’re in pain. That’s especially true when you’re struggling with migraines. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night to function optimally. Getting anything below that can significantly impact your mood and health. But how can you get quality sleep when you’re dealing with a migraine? Let’s take a look!
Know This Trigger
If you know that you commonly have migraines, make sure that you do everything you can to avoid triggering one before you go to sleep. That’s not a foolproof solution, of course, and it’s easier said than done. Consider keeping a notebook of your migraine times and triggers as much as possible to help you plan your nighttime routine around them. For example, migraines have a 50% chance of starting between the hours of 4 a.m. and 9 a.m., for those who suffer from chronic headaches. So be aware of when you can expect them, and aim to take preventative measures.
One of the most common triggers that can set us off as we get into our nighttime routine is circadian rhythm dysregulation and having a flipped cycle. Normally, we should wake up and within 30-35 minutes our cortisol(stress and energy hormone) should be sky high. As the day goes on our cortisol should start to drop down ending with a tenth the amount we would have in the morning.
If this doesn’t happen in the evening, we run into very big problems. Two of the most common causes of this cycle being flipped? Eating foods that are not balancing our blood sugar and staying too stimulated whether that be from work, emotionally or from screens.
Do you best to bring yourself into tune with the natural cycles of night and day.
Consistency is Healing to The Migraine Brain
It can be tempting to sleep whenever possible, especially if you’re struggling to fall asleep at night. However, it’s important to do your best to sleep at the same time every night, and that’s especially true if you’re struggling with a migraine. Start your nighttime routine early and try not to deviate from it. The consistency helps your body relax and ready itself for sleep even when you’re not feeling your best.
The migraine brain is one that loves consistency. It loves keeping things the same and keeping everything even and moderate.
The migraine brain does not do well with big changes or disruptions because it is already on the edge of its threshold.
Luckily as you follow the steps and guidelines through the Migraine Professional blogs you can easily bring yourself far below your threshold and heal your trigger happy brain.
Skip the Caffeine
No matter how much you enjoy a mug of coffee in the morning, it’s a good idea to cut out as much caffeine as possible from your routine. You don’t want anything to get in the way of your sleep, and caffeine can serve as a detriment. You don’t have to stop drinking it entirely – substantially cutting down could be enough to help make falling asleep easier.
With our constant go-go-go produce produce produce culture its very common that our neurohormonal systems will be burnt out. The biggest sign of it is dependency on a stimulant like caffeine. The problem is that caffeine is not a nutrient and doesn’t add to our bodies reserves to actually create energy. It creates an energetic debt.
At the end of the day, it takes more resources than it gives and even though that may work today, eventually our body will start asking for the debt back.
See our video to understand the connection between coffee, feeling great and rebounding here.
These oils are essential
Aromatherapy is an all natural, home remedy that’s been used for centuries to help with various health issues, and aid in relaxation — and people still practice aromatherapy today! Consider investing in quality essential oils and giving them a try. Rub them on your temples before bed, to promote relaxation and soothe your pain.
My favourite oils to use for relaxation are frankincense, lavender and myrrh. They are easy to use and go great with a relaxing epsom salt bath.
Use the Right Pillow or Mattress
Having a supportive pillow and mattress are vital components for getting a good night’s rest, and helping with chronic pain. Additionally having a proper bed structure can help you maintain a better sleeping position, and one that prevents tension in your head at night. If you’re wondering which type of mattress would be most beneficial for your needs, take a mattress quiz to determine the best mattress for you based upon your unique sleep style and personal preferences.
Unplug for the Night
Sometimes, electronic devices can make migraines worse. Consider unplugging for the night and leaving your phone or computer out of the bedroom. Devote the room to sleep and relaxation. You might be surprised at how much it helps.
Our body can take 1-2 hours to properly adjust to darkness and wind down. For millions of years we have been dependant on the amount of light in the environment and we are tuned to it. If it’s daylight outside, our body doesn’t wind down. Similarly, if the blue light given off of electronics is not shut off, our body continues to be artificially stimulated.
This prevents cortisol(stress hormones) from dropping and allowing our sleep and repair hormones from turning on. Sleep is our brains detox time and we need to take advantage of that if we want to be resilient.
Do you know what the ideal pillow and mattress to support your sleep are?
This article was made in collaboration with Christine Huegel from The Mattress Advisor.
Holistic Health Practitioner
Mark Canadic is a writer, speaker, holistic health practitioner and migraine community leader. Read Mark’s inspiring comeback story, “My Burnout and Brain Fires that Lead me to the Root.” Feel free to send Mark a message here.