How to Sleep with a Migraine? 11 Effective Ways to be Pain-Free!

how to sleep with a migraine
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Are you desperately craving your beauty sleep? Are you troubled by constant migraines? We’re here to help.

Migraine attacks can be very tiring. You don’t need that annoying throbbing in your head when your alarm clock, and not migraines, should be the one that ruins sleep.

It is said that sleep and a healthy lifestyle play a crucial role in preventing migraines in the future. While proper sleep is crucial for people with migraine attacks, ironically, migraines are exactly what may prevent this well-needed sleep.

So, to know how to sleep with a migraine, you need to know what is causing your migraine and how to treat it. Since migraines are self-diagnosed, they can be wrongly identified as well.

Step 1 in knowing how to sleep with a migraine is to learn what it is. This way, you can ensure that your headaches are a symptom of migraines and not any other disorder.

What is a Migraine?

how to sleep with a migraine
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If you think that just a normal headache is a migraine, it’s not. So what’s the difference between a migraine and a headache?

A migraine is a disorder that is characterized by aggravated headaches and/or throbbing pain in one particular area. If you get a chronic daily headache (ones that happen at least 15 days a month for at least 3 months) like this one, identifying the symptoms can be very important:

How to Sleep with a Migraine: Symptoms

Your insomnia may also be caused by sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea, which have similar symptoms to migraines. You could wake up in the middle of the night with a headache, and you might not be sure whether it’s a migraine or sleep apnea. So it would be better to make yourself aware of the symptoms of migraines.

Symptoms include light sensitivity, noise sensitivity, dizziness, blurry vision, and throbbing in the eyes, head, face, or neck. Warning signs include an aura before the migraine headaches.

Do you have frequent headaches, can’t be in the sun too long, or are you not a fan of loud sounds? You may have a migraine, so it’s best to be prepared.

Take a look at these causes and treatments:

How to Sleep with a Migraine: Causes

If you find yourself generally stressing a lot about work or a personal affair, you may be at risk for unprecedented attacks on your health in the form of a migraine.

Migraines may be triggered by certain factors that cause irregular brain activity, thereby disrupting nerve signals, neurotransmitters, and blood vessels in the brain.

These triggers include taking stress, drinking caffeine or alcohol, intense physical activity, loud sounds, or extremely bright lights.

The risk factors that may increase the probability of migraine are genetics, hormonal changes, increased stress levels, and smoking. So, if you have a family member or relative with a history of migraine attacks, your chances of getting a migraine will increase.

This will also be the case if you’re a woman because of hormonal fluctuations during and around your menstrual cycle. Don’t take up smoking or too much stress if you feel you’re prone to migraine attacks because these are also risk factors that may cause a migraine.

How to Sleep with a Migraine: Treatment

So, if you feel like you may have migraine attacks, take steps to avoid them. Long-term treatments include taking preventive medications. These will reduce the frequency and incidence of migraine attacks. You can also try therapies such as Progressive muscle relaxation or Acupuncture therapy.

While these methods can help reduce the frequency of migraines, they may take time to work. You would still battle nights of migraine headaches before that, so here are a few quick remedies to get the good night’s rest you deserve.

Solution 1 on how to sleep with a migraine:

1. Take Painkillers

how to sleep with a migraine: take painkillers
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Imagine you’re dreaming of your happy place, whether it’s soaring through the clouds with actual wings or tanning at the beach. Say you suddenly experience migraines depriving you of those precious hours of sleep. What will you do?

Taking painkillers during migraine attacks is an effective method of pain relief. As soon as you start experiencing symptoms, you can take an ordinary painkiller such as paracetamol or aspirin. However, for children under the age of 16 and adults with recurring symptoms, seeing a General Practitioner is highly recommended. Please also note that taking too many painkillers may cause additional migraines.

If you want professional help, the American migraine foundation can find you a doctor or specialist in your region! Just check out their website on treating and understanding migraines.

Solution 2 on how to sleep with a migraine:

2. Use Essential Oils

how to sleep with a migraine: essential oils
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Are you wondering how to sleep with a migraine using natural methods?

While using the painkillers listed above helps relieve pain temporarily, taking them often may increase headaches and cause other side effects.

Using essential oils is a natural way to reduce stress from your mind and calm you down. You can use lavender oil for quick relief, which works within almost 15 minutes of inhaling it! It’s also great for reducing stress, one of the main causes of migraines.

You can’t go wrong with peppermint oil, commonly used to treat headaches and migraines. Migraines may cause temple headaches, so smear this oil all over your temples (whichever side hurts).

Say goodbye to your insomnia for the night using rosemary oil, which works well to relieve pain, relax the muscles, and reduce insomnia. Mix it with coconut oil and rub it on the affected area. Another commonly used oil for migraines is Eucalyptus Oil, which is also great for sinus-induced headaches.

These oils can provide relief during a migraine attack and help you go back to sleep. Sweet dreams!

Solution 3 on how to sleep with a migraine:

3. Change your Sleeping Position

how to sleep with a migraine: sleep on your side
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In case of a migraine attack, you may feel a throbbing in either side of your head, face, or neck. Lie down on your side instead of flat on your back or stomach. Make sure that the side of your face that’s hurting is the one touching the bed.

However, if this sleep position doesn’t work, you can always try other comfortable sleeping positions.

Solution 4 on how to sleep with a migraine:

4. Create Comfortable Sleeping Conditions

Are you still having trouble sleeping after using these pain-relief methods? Sometimes the problem may be in the environment. Check if the bright lights are bothering you. Or is it the room temperature or even the loud sounds coming from your tv?

Migraines include symptoms such as sensitivity to light and sound. So, you may want to avoid playing your favorite action movie as a lullaby while sleeping. Ensure that you create a dim setting by turning off all bright lights. Heat can also cause headaches and increase migraine frequency, so turn on the Air conditioner or any other cooling system.

All-in-all creates a calm and comfortable environment for yourself if you want to sleep with a migraine. Using these tips to sleep can also help you maintain a good sleep quality.

Solution 5 on how to sleep with a migraine:

5. Maintain a Good Sleep Cycle

Every individual needs at least 7-9 hours of sleep if they want to stay healthy. Migraines may affect these well-needed hours of sleep. So set your bedtime a few hours earlier as it takes time to fall asleep while struggling with a migraine. This will help you get the optimal range of sleep even during a migraine attack. It will also prevent your circadian rhythm from becoming irregular.

Solution 6 on how to sleep with a migraine:

6. Stay Hydrated

Do you need a sure-fire way how to sleep with a migraine? Drinking a lot of fluids before bedtime will wash away your troubles! Migraines are sometimes related to acid reflux. So, if you drink a lot of water, it will neutralize acids inside your body.

You can drink tea, decaf coffee, or non-fat milk.

Solution 7 on how to sleep with a migraine:

7. Go for a Walk

how to sleep with a migraine: take a walk
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Walk your dog in the park or go for a simple, innocent jog along the street before bedtime. Mild physical exercise will reduce stress and tire you out before bedtime.

Sensitivity to light is one of the migraine symptoms you need to watch out for. Walking around in the broad sunlight will definitely give you a headache. So, say hi to nature, but only in the evenings!

Solution 8 on how to sleep with a migraine:

8. No Gadgets at the Night

Hearing this may feel like taking a bullet to the heart, but you should turn off your pc and phone an hour before bedtime. We say this because the blue light from electronics may drastically affect your sleep patterns and pave the way for sleep deprivation.

Want your circadian rhythm to be right on track? Ditch the gadgets at night.

Solution 9 on how to sleep with a migraine:

9. Avoid Strong Scents

how to sleep with a migraine: avoid scents
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The aroma coming from perfumes, deodorants, and detergents may cause dizziness and nausea to those sensitive to it. This could trigger migraine attacks. So avoid wearing strong perfume or applying deodorant during the night.

Solution 10 on how to sleep with a migraine:

10. Monitor Food Intake at the Night

Are you getting poor sleep due to frequent migraines? Is it affecting your daily lifestyle?

Maintaining everyday health will help avoid a chronic migraine, thereby getting you proper sleep in the long term. This means monitoring your food intake at night.

Avoid heavy meals before bedtime. It would be best if you also track your carb intake. Don’t eat chocolates, peanuts, or processed cheese at night. These may cause acid reflux, thereby causing headaches and migraine symptoms.

It would help if you also avoid caffeine or alcohol. These drinks can pump you up and prevent you free sleeping. Drinking alcohol can also lead to major headaches afterward.

Solution 11 on how to sleep with a migraine:

11. Do these Relaxation Techniques

There are so many relaxation techniques you can try to calm yourself down during a migraine attack and even reduce pain. Yoga, meditation, and deep breathing are some of the best answers to “how to sleep with a migraine?”. They can go a long way toward relaxing your body and thereby help you cope with migraines.

Try a combination of Shavasana and guided meditation, where you can lie down and picture relaxing scenarios. There are a lot of guided meditation videos online, so it’s very easy to do. Don’t you want an excuse to check physical exercise off your daily list by simply lying down? It’ll help concentrate your mind on your breathing instead of the migraine pain.

Now you can be ready to battle the world in the mornings without any dark circles under your eyes! These simple practices can help you attain enough sleep to feel refreshed in the mornings. They also lead to pain relief or prevention of migraines altogether.


1. Do migraines get better over time?

The thing is, people’s experience with migraines can vary depending on their own symptoms and triggers, which means that migraine symptoms can change throughout the years, but it’s not always for the better. Although, it’s been in the talks for years how adolescents with migraines either stop having them completely or just have less severe attacks as they grow.

2. Are migraines hereditary?

It’s a bit unusual to find migraines in people that don’t have any family history of it, so the answer is, yes. They can very well be hereditary. Knowing which members of your family have dealt with headaches like this and in what way can help you find a remedy for your own headaches as well.


Edited by Pooja Motwani


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Do note that any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.


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