Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Can Sleeping Habits Cause Headaches?

For most, sleeping is a time meant for both resting and relaxation. It’s comfy, a necessity, and often a treat at the end of a long day. Sleeping also allows bodies to recharge and gear up for new activities, while giving the brain a much needed break. If un-restful, however, it’s possible to wake up feeling tired, groggy, or in pain. All from not getting the proper amount of rest.

One of the most common post-sleep complaints are headaches. Despite having given the body the sleep it needs, people can still wake with head pain. For some, it can even become a chronic condition, greatly affecting their work and personal lives.

But what’s the cause? Can sleep – when interrupted – actually cause more health problems than it helps prevent? How can something meant for rest work against one’s health?  

Possible Headache Triggers

There are various stages of sleep, and waking in the middle may interrupt the brain from producing “feel good” chemicals, such as serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals work to put the body in balance through health and attitude. But when woken too early, these levels can get out of whack, possibly leading to migraines or other milder headaches. The level of each headache can depend on a person’s specific chemical balance, their sleeping habits, and more. [WebMD]

As for sleeping with three pillows, or with one’s head in a jackknife position – that’s probably not helping pain levels either. Necks are sensitive areas, and straining them for long periods of time – even if it’s “comfortable” can cause pain later on. This fix could be as simple as purchasing a new pillow that offers better support for the head or neck.

However, with chronic or frequent headaches, it’s always important to talk to a doctor about what could be causing the pain. Between their expertise and the proper sleeping equipment, rest-induced headaches can be greatly reduced.

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