Insomnia and Migraines Walk Hand in Hand

Insomnia and migraines have been linked together in numerous studies. The viscous cycle that includes pain and lack of sleep affects many across the map. These studies show why so many people get stuck in this painful cycle.

What is Insomnia?

Before understanding how insomnia affects the pain in your head, you must first understand what insomnia is. Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which a person chronically has trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or both. Insomnia has numerous causes including stressful events, physical problems, psychiatric problems, drug abuse, or it may be a side effect of a drug. Medication, therapy or better eating and exercising habits can be used to control it.

Rat Study

Researchers from Missouri State University linked insomnia and migraines in a study conducted on rats. In this study, Durham and colleagues split their rat population in half giving one group a full nights rest and deprived the remaining group of good REM sleep. The researchers found that in the group of rats that were deprived of REM Sleep, proteins that cause migraines were enhanced. Arousal of these proteins causes pain that we know to be migraines.

Interview Study

This study published in the journal Headache interviewed nearly 150 women who had chronic migraines. 80% of these women reported feeling tired when the woke in the morning and many reported having sleep problems.

A second interview study published in the journal Headache revealed a connection between insomnia and migraines by conducting a study of 47 women. Half of these women were given a placebo and half of the women were given instructions on good sleeping habits. Those who slept well saw decreases in their migraine frequency and intensity.

Insomnia and MigraineInsomnia and Migraines

It is concluded from these studies that when we have trouble sleeping and do not reach the proper amount of REM sleep, proteins in our brain are triggered that lead to migraines. Insomnia increases the frequency that migraines occur. However, the link between insomnia and migraines seems to go both ways. A prior condition of chronic migraines is likely to cause insomnia, and insomnia will increase the frequency of migraines. This is a viscous cycle that is affecting many Americans in today’s society. It is also concluded that efforts to maintain a normal sleep cycle will decrease the effects of this cycle.

Visit Care Club to set an appointment to see a doctor about your insomnia.

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