Stress-Related Migraines

Adequate Sleep
Lack of sleep is a known migraine trigger in some people. Also, getting adequate sleep can help decrease stress. In general, it is recommended that people with migraines try to maintain a regular sleep schedule every day.
Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night. While this may not seem possible, here are some things that may help:
  • Try to go to sleep at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning.
  • Try not to take naps during the day, because naps may make you less sleepy at night.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol late in the day. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and can keep you from falling asleep. Alcohol can cause you to wake up in the night. It also interferes with sleep quality.
  • Get regular exercise. Try not to exercise close to bedtime, because it may stimulate you and make it hard to fall asleep. Experts suggest not exercising within three hours before going to bed.
  • Don't eat a heavy meal late in the day. A light snack before bedtime may help you sleep.
  • Make your sleeping place comfortable. Be sure that it is dark, quiet, and not too warm or too cold. If light is a problem, try a sleeping mask. If noise is a problem, try earplugs, a fan, or a "white noise" machine to cover up the sounds.
  • Follow a routine to help relax and wind down before sleep, such as reading a book, listening to music, or taking a bath.
  • Avoid using your bed for anything other than sleep or sex.
  • If you can't fall asleep and don't feel drowsy, get up and read (or do something that is not overly stimulating) until you feel sleepy.
  • If you tend to lie awake worrying about things, try making a to-do list before you go to bed. This may help you to "let go" of those worries overnight.
  • See your healthcare provider if you think that you have insomnia or another sleep disorder.
Stress Management Program
Participating in a stress management program can be helpful for a lot of people with stress-related migraines. These programs can also have other benefits, such as:
  • Making you feel better
  • Helping you to control overeating (if this is a problem)
  • Reducing the need for alcohol and cigarettes (if you use them).
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