Getting a good night’s sleep can be tricky. Your brain’s working overtime all day long and getting it to rest down for the night is the last thing it wants to do. The problem with not getting enough sleep is that it has a negative effect on practically every aspect of your life. Lack of sleep doesn’t allow your brain to work to its maximum potential.
You’ll find it harder to focus and concentrate and your memory will start to lag. It also affects your mood by making you react negatively and more spontaneously without thinking things through first. In addition, studies have shown that getting too little sleep leads to weight gain. To top it off, it triggers migraines, which can turn your day into one big, pounding mess.
In addition, it’s a well-known fact that migraines and the quality of your sleep are part of the same package, a little like the chicken and the egg. They hit 50% of the time between 4 – 9 am and are more common among those who suffer from sleep disorders, such as insomnia.
Insomnia is defined as having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep for more than 5-6 hours. It’s one of the main reasons behind migraines because it disrupts your natural sleep rhythms, and as a result, you’re stuck with throbbing, pounding, sometimes debilitating, headaches.
Insomnia is also a trigger for mood swings, depression, and anxiety, which all can be contributing factors to migraine headaches. Moreover, it decreases daily functioning and impairs your quality of life.
Read on to find out how you to get your circadian rhythm (roughly 24 hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings) back in order and keep it that way to enjoy migraine-free, healthier, happier days.
Try to go to bed at the same time each day, and get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. This allows you to get a regularly scheduled sleep schedule. The scientific reason behind it is that we go through four main stages of sleep; the deepest and most beneficial are the third and fourth stages, which are at their most powerful just right before we wake up.
These stages are crucial for the production of dopamine and serotonin; the “feel good” hormones produced by your brain, and anytime their levels decrease, sleep problems arise as well as other disorders.
- Eliminate factors that sabotage your sleep.
- Exercising late in the day
- Eating protein at night
- Going to bed hungry can keep you awake because the hormone that’s responsible for your hunger pangs makes your brain alert to get your digestive system ready for food. If that’s the case, eating a small snack will suffice to end your hunger pangs without making you feel too full.
- Hidden sources of caffeine, like medications or drinks, can prevent you from getting enough sleep. If you take them close to bedtime, they can interfere with your sleep cycle.
- Too much sleep can also trigger migraines. Sleeping in on the weekends and taking long naps will wreak havoc on your night’s sleep.
- Increase your quality of sleep naturally without medication.
- Put your phone on silent an hour before your bedtime. This will help put distractions at a minimum.
- Dim the lights in your bedroom and turn off the TV. Bright lights alert your brain and make it think it’s daylight, instead of getting it to wind down and get into sleep mode.
- Lower the temperature on your thermostat. It’s been proven that the best temperature for optimal sleep should be around 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Just make sure you keep your hands and feet warm, even if it’s with just a sheet because these areas are the most problematic for those suffering from migraines and insomnia. Also, make sure your pajamas are made from natural material, like cotton or silk, or flannel in the winter – and doesn’t stick to your body as you sleep.
- Dehydrate adequately throughout the day. Studies show that dehydration increases the risk of migraines, and is an unavoidable trigger. A mere 1.4% of fluid loss can result in headaches and difficulty concentrating.
- Make it a point to exercise regularly, preferably in the morning, which can help improve your mental abilities and increase your focus. It also boosts the level of endorphins in your system, “feel good” chemical messages in the brain known to decrease stress levels as well as reduce the effects of painful headaches. Getting a good workout also, helps get your sleep cycle back in order so you can wake up and go to sleep at regular times, and increase the amount of quality sleep during the night.
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