Establishing Healthy Sleep Habits

How our Move Against Migraine community keeps their sleep habits on track

There’s a reason why healthy sleep habits come up in almost any article about migraine prevention and migraine self-care—they matter! Your body needs sleep, and getting a consistent, adequate amount of sleep provides the foundation for healthier living and fewer migraine attacks. Getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep is easier said than done, so we asked our Facebook support group members for their secrets to maintaining healthy sleep habits.

Keep a consistent bedtime

The migraine brain hates change, so keeping a consistent bedtime helps your body keep operating business as usual. Move Against Migraine moderator Rachel shared that “Strict bedtimes and wake times” are her top tips. Member Phoebe uses a sleep app that reminds her to get ready for bed at 10:30 p.m. and wakes her up at 7 a.m. She has also experimented with turning off her device notifications and dimming her lights an hour before her bedtime to signal her body to get ready for sleep.

Regulate your bedtime routine

What you do before your bedtime is just as important as getting a full night’s sleep. Move Against Migraine member Cherise uses essential oils, and journals or reads uplifting books before bed every night. “I take time for self-care no matter what. I focus on what I can control,” she said. Moderator Rachel watches her behavior right before bed, and shared that she doesn’t eat or drink alcohol close to bedtime. The American Migraine Foundation recommends eating no later than four hours before bedtime and urges people to limit fluids within two hours of bedtime.

Prioritize better sleep

Many components go into creating good, restful sleep. Judi shared that the addition of a weighted blanket increased her average sleep time by three hours, and many other members swear by certain pillows and positions to fall asleep more quickly. Jane’s trick when she has trouble falling asleep? She counts backward from 300 in threes. As you incorporate new tactics and practices in search for a good night’s sleep, record what works for you in your headache diary so you can easily replicate your success.

Address potential sleep apnea

Jodie shared with our support group that after years of poor sleep, her doctor sent her for a sleep study where she learned that she had obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition that causes a temporary lack of breathing when asleep, and obstructive sleep apnea is a migraine trigger that also contributes to poor sleep routines. Like migraine, sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed, which is why it’s imperative that patients ask their doctors to screen them for the condition.

A good night’s sleep is essential to migraine self-care and a key part of setting your body up for success. For more resources about sleep, like sleep tips for teenagers living with migraine, and more, please visit our resource library.