Many of us have a love-hate relationship with sleep.

We need sleep to function and live a happy and full life, but sometimes falling asleep or staying asleep or both isn’t so easy. According to The National Institutes of Health, an estimated 30 percent of the U.S. population experiences some type of nightly sleep disruption. An additional 10 percent suffer from insomnia.

Although insomnia can be difficult for anyone, migraineurs are particularly susceptible to the side effects. When you are sleep deprived, it can lead to serious health concerns, mental fogginess, as well as an increased risk of early death. A lack of sleep will eventually kill you.

This is why so many people turn to sleep medications. Migraineurs like others in acute or chronic pain, may be tempted to take an over-the-counter or prescription drug to get to sleep; but research shows, sleep medications don’t really work and can actually cause more harm than good.

Why Sleep is Vital to Migraineurs

Sleep is something not to be messed with. The amount of sleep you need at night will depend on a host of factors, but generally, it’s recommended  adults (26-64) get 7-9 hours and older adults (65+) sleep for 7-8 hours.

Now, think about how many hours of sleep you are actually getting. For many of us, if we are honest with ourselves, the number of hours is less than it should be. Unfortunately, burning the candle at both ends, pushing through work/kids/school/pain all day and then up all night can be seriously detrimental, migraineur or not.

Many migraineurs have a difficult time sleeping, causing them to be anxious and stressed out the next day and leading to yep, you guess it, another migraine. It’s a vicious cycle, which is why people turn to sleep medications. The challenges with sleep aids are many, but the biggest problem is that they don’t really work.

Poor Sleep Leads to Mental and Physical Health Problems

We must reverse our way of thinking and stop rewarding people’s ability to seemingly function on 5 hours or less of sleep at night. It’s not a bragging contest. It’s not a rite of passage. It’s just downright dangerous. Poor sleep habits can cause both mental and physical health issues, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mental fog
  • Weight gain
  • Impaired memory
  • Accelerated aging
  • Migraines

The Dangers of Sleeping Pills

Sleep medications are there for a reason and can be effective in acute situations. However, they should not be relied on long-term, because they have been shown to possibly trigger migraines and cause additional problems.

Here are just a few reasons why I migraineurs need to steer clear of sleep drugs:

  • Sleep medication can lead to rebound insomnia
  • Sleep medication could make you dependent
  • Sleep medication leave you groggy and confused
  • Sleep medication can impair your cognitive abilities well into the next day as well as impair your driving the day after
  • Sleep medication can cause you to binge-eat when still ‘sleeping’
  • Sleep medication increases your risk of dementia

Dealing with insomnia or other sleeping disturbances can be stressful, to say the least. I know it can be tempting to turn to sleep pills, especially if you suffer from migraines and know lack of sleep is a trigger.

There are numerous vitamins and supplements that will not only help with your sleeping patterns, but also with your migraines, too. To learn more, visit my blog categories or call 203-840-0000 to schedule a phone consultation and find more natural ways for you to fall asleep and stay asleep on your own.  

Sources

National Sleep Foundation – How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?

Darkside of Sleeping Pills