Whether you suffer from headache or debilitating migraines, when you’re in pain, falling — and staying — asleep is easier said than done. What’s worse, lack of sleep creates a vicious cycle since getting fewer than 6-hours of sleep at night can increase the frequency and severity of migraines.
So what is a sufferer to do when a dark room, a low thermostat, and counting sheep won’t work?
Here are some sleep strategies pain management professionals recommend:
Resist the urge to “sleep in,” even on weekends.
Binge sleeping on your days off can actually trigger a migraine, so try to keep your weekend bedtime and wake-time within an hour or so of your weekday schedule.
Avoid exercising two hours before bedtime.
But do aim to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity several days of the week. A recent study found that when migraine sufferers did aerobic exercise for 40 minutes three times a week for three months, the frequency of attacks was reduced by 25% on average.
Consider meditating at bedtime.
Meditation has been found to reduce headache frequency and improve pain tolerance. And it will help you nod off when your mind is in overdrive. Find a quiet place to count your breaths or repeat a word or phrase. Relaxation techniques include guided imagery, in which you image a calm scene, such as yourself sitting on the beach.
Skip daytime napping.
This can lead to insomnia because you’ll be less likely to be tired at bedtime if you sleep during the day. If you must nap, don’t make it longer than 20 minutes.
Do the “fold test” on your pillow.
When pillows get too old they don’t offer the proper support, resulting in neck pain that can exacerbate your migraine and make it harder to fall asleep. If you fold your pillow in half and it doesn’t spring open right away, it’s time for a replacement.
Cut back on caffeine.
Avoid consuming caffeine four to five hours before bedtime. Also, pay attention to the amount of caffeine you’re getting from other beverages, like soda, and foods. You might be consuming more than you think.
About Pasadena Pain Management
Pasadena Pain Management offers sleep apnea and pain management treatment for TMJ/TMD, migraine, headaches and neck pain in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Pasadena Pain Management, we offer the exclusive TruDenta treatment therapy — a highly specialized form of care that involves cutting-edge dental technology, without needles or injections. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable pain management care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping our patients happy and pain free.