Saturday, June 24, 2006

Could the answer be this simple?

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This study purports to show the importance of something we're often told:

Improve Sleep Habits to Cut Migraines
"People with migraine say it affects their sleep," Calhoun says, "but it may be the other way around. They're having chronic migraines because they are not sleeping well."

I believe it is the former in my situation - that migraines and prophylactic medications impact my ability to get good, restful sleep. However, it is possible that I (or any of you out there) am suffering from some disorder like sleep apnea and do not know it. Further, it would not suprise me if this is another "chicken/egg" situation for migraineurs: Migraines impact your sleep and not getting enough restful sleep leads to more migraines. And so on until you're in chronic migraine hell.
While headache specialists point to medication overuse as a factor in headaches becoming more chronic, "we feel there may be other important factors involved in the transformation process," Calhoun says. "Sleep problems may be one of these methods by which episodic headaches become chronic."

I do wonder what measure, if any, of the improvement in these migraineurs can be attributed to making them aware of medication overuse headache and their resulting behavior changes.
In her study, she assessed 43 women with transformed migraine. That's a headache pattern in which occasional or episodic headaches become chronic -- defined as at least half of the days of the month. All the women were told they would be learning how to improve lifestyle habits such as diet, exercise, and sleep.

Calhoun assigned 23 women to the behavior-modification group. These women were told to schedule eight hours of time in bed each night, not to read or watch television or listen to music in bed, and to limit their fluid intake beginning two hours before bedtime. They also were taught how to use visualization to fall asleep quickly and were instructed to move dinnertime to four hours before bed to ensure sounder sleep.

This routine is absolutely worth a try. I know I have not been as rigid in following these guidelines as I could be. I intend to implement these changes and see how I do.

Check out these articles for techniques that may help you get better sleep:

guided imagery
progressive relaxation

I really like this guided relaxation CD:
Relaxation Body Scan & Guided Imagery for Well-Being

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