WHAT IS GOOD SLEEP HYGIENE?
Not getting enough sleep can be a trigger for some headache sufferers. Find out how to practice good sleep hygiene.
Most people are familiar with the benefits of practicing good personal hygiene (for instance, did you brush your teeth this morning?). But did you know that there’s also such a thing as sleep hygiene? Practicing it can be a tool for some headache sufferers –sleep disorders have been linked to headaches and can affect headache management, while irregular sleep patterns and changes in sleep patterns are headache and migraine triggers for some.
What Is Sleep Hygiene?
Sleeping seems simple enough: You get tired and you go to bed. But for some, it’s not that easy. Sleep hygiene refers to our sleep habits, or behaviors and environmental conditions that lead to more restful sleep, including avoiding sleep disruption. Keeping a regular schedule is very important (more on that later).
Why Is Sleep Hygiene Important?
It probably comes as no surprise that sleep is good for your well-being. And even if you don’t suffer from a diagnosed sleep disorder such as insomnia or sleep apnea, poor sleep habits may increase your risk of developing other health issues, including high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and possibly even obesity and diabetes.
Good sleep hygiene is particularly important for headache sufferers. Many types of headaches, including headaches, migraines and episodic cluster headaches have been linked to insufficient or interrupted sleep or sleep disorders. There’s even a very rare headache called hypnic headache that’s exclusively sleep-related. 1 Regardless, practicing good sleep hygiene could help some headache sufferers avoid some head pain.
How Can You Practice Good Sleep Hygiene?
There are several sleep hygiene tips you can use to regulate your sleep patterns and improve the quality of your sleep:
· Establish a regular sleep cycle. Going to bed and waking up at roughly the same times every day will help you fall asleep quicker, eventually creating a good habit.
· Create a comfortable environment. Keeping the temperature in your room on the cooler rather than warner side and eliminating excessive noise will help you sleep better.
· Eating large meals or drinking alcohol or caffeine before bedtime can disrupt your sleep pattern.
· Don’t overdo it with naps. If you nap for too long (more than 30 minutes), or too late in the day, it can disrupt your sleep cycle.
· Manage stress. Going to bed distracted by worries can lead to fitful and unfulfilling sleep. Use your bed for sleeping — not answering email, making to-do lists and worrying.
1. Obermann M, Holle D. Hypnic headache. Expert Rev Neurother. 2010 Sep;10(9):1391-7. Review. PubMed PMID: 20839413.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20839413