Finally found a real trigger!

Ahhha!! I might have finally figures out a connection, I fell sooooooo much better when I dont get a lot (8-10 hrs.) of sleep. When I have a night were I just cant sleep that well (4-5 hrs) I feel almost normal the next day!!! I mean every single time!!!I have had this dizziness going on 4 years and could not for the life of me find any trigger or connection to what was making me dizzy. I know that over sleeping can cause migraine, but I didn’t think 8-10 hrs was really oversleeping! I have been doing a little research and have found serotonin and sleep are linked. Something like deep REM sleep causes serotonin levels to go down or something, I’m a little confused. I had an appointment with my neuro yesterday and all she had to say was that she had never heard that sleeping was a migraine trigger!!! Ahhhhhh! These darn small town doctors. She also told me that she sent one of her patients with dizziness to the MAYO in rochester and he had a NEW DIAGNOSIS OF CHRONIc SUBJECTIVE DIZZINESS. She said it was a migraine variant and the only drug she wanted me on was ZOLOFT which I have already tried for 8 months and only got to about 60 % better. That it what Dr STABB is using and she wants to copy him. I told her that I had heard all about CSD and I really just wanted more information on my sleep= migraine connection. she had NO insight though. Does anyonelse out there have any???

This is really interesting.

I have always been convinced I need 9/10 hours sleep. And I know if I only have 4 or 5, I will feel horrendous. But i have sometimes only had 7 and felt strangely better.

I have often wondered if actually I need less, but always dismissed the thought in my head as nothing… It sounds like it could actually be worth playing around with sleep durations then?!

What sleep pattern have you been following/do you plan on giving a go now?

There is definitely a link between migraine and sleep.

I am never refreshed. I wish there was more research available. Maybe there is- anyone know?

If you suffer from migraines, you may want to pay more attention to your sleep habits. That’s the message from several studies which show that sleep problems, like insomnia, may actually trigger migraines.

Migraines and Sleep Problems
Migraines begin when hyperactive nerve cells send out impulses to blood vessels, causing them to constrict, then expand. This is accompanied by the release of brain chemicals and inflammatory substances that cause the pulsations to be painful.

In a study published in the journal Headache, researchers conducted a detailed sleep interview with 147 women with transformed migraines (where occasional or episodic headaches become chronic at least half of the days of the month). When asked whether they were refreshed or tired on waking, not one reported feeling refreshed, and more than 80% said they were tired when they woke. Complaints about sleep problems were prevalent.

In a second study on sleep habits and migraines, also published in Headache, researchers provided stronger evidence that good sleep habits reduce both the number and intensity of migraine headaches. In these findings, 43 women with transformed migraines received behavioral sleep instructions or placebo instructions in addition to usual medical care. The women recorded their migraine headaches in diaries. At the end of the study, the women who received behavioral sleep instructions reported a significant reduction in migraine headache frequency and intensity.

How Do Sleep Problems Cause Migraines?
Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep provokes migraines, says Vincent Fortanasce, MD, a Los Angeles-based neurologist, psychiatrist, and author of the Anti-Alzheimer’s Prescription. Fortanasce tells WebMD that REM sleep provokes most powerful migraines that occur five to six hours after sleep begins.

Most of us go through about six sleep cycles with about four stages of sleep, plus rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. The deepest stages of sleep (stages 3 and 4) are necessary for the production of sufficient serotonin and dopamine, both neurotransmitters.

These neurotransmitters are the “feel good” chemical messengers in the brain, and both depend on adequate sleep; a decrease in serotonin and dopamine is associated with poor sleep or sleep problems.

One reason for waking with migraines is that REM sleep is most powerful just before awakening. Sleepproblems can then trigger migraines by causing instability of serotonin and a lowering of dopamine levels.

Antidepressants, specifically the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may help stabilize serotonin membranes and block migraines. These medications are sometimes used as migraine treatment

Not only do sleep problems wreak havoc on mood and decision-making abilities, but poor sleep habits also result in feelings of malaise, poor concentration, and even accidental deaths, according to Ronald R. Fieve, MD, professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, and author of Bipolar II.

When trying to isolate signs of sleep problems, Fieve gives the following eight statements to patients. If you check more than two of the statements below, call your doctor and seek help for your sleepproblem:

I have a headache in the morning upon getting out of bed.
I feel scattered aches and pains throughout my body upon arising.
I feel fatigue or tiredness that does not go away even after several large cups of strongly caffeinated coffee.
I feel in a low mood that does not lift even as I get on with daily activities.
I have felt depressed enough to seek psychiatric help or to obtain antidepressant medications.
I feel irritable, impatient, and moody.
I have trouble learning new information or grasping new ideas.
I often have an inability to maintain social harmony with family and friends.
Will Better Sleep Habits Stop Your Migraines?
While no one can guarantee that better sleep habits will result in fewer migraines, there are some practical ways to get in control of your sleep problems.

Start by keeping track of your sleep habits and migraine patterns each morning for four weeks. Using a small calendar or diary, write down how you slept each night and record if you had a migraine. After reviewing your sleep habits and migraine diary over four weeks, you may begin to notice a pattern of sleep problems triggering migraines. Even if you don’t notice a pattern, continue to work on your sleep habits so you feel better and are able be more alert and productive at work and at home

Joli that is great! How many nights has this happened that you have found this? Does it affect your balance at all? I wonder if you can sleep 4-5 hrs a night, and then maybe take a nap later in the day- like when you get home from work- and then stay up late at night???

Does Zoloft help with your balance at all? Yea you definitely could add another med…but just bc that other patient got diagnosed with CSD, doesn’t necessarily mean you will too. Elishat posted on here recently that she did well adding topamax to zoloft…howie posted awhile back that he does well on zoloft and verapamil…could be options for you to try.

This would fit in with what Dr Silver said to me about sleep. He suggested I try gabapentin to improve the quality of my sleep because I dream quite a lot and he said that maybe I am hovering in the REM phase too long and not getting enough of the deep sleep. I have taken 5-HTP supplements to help boost serotonin but I find that my dreams are more vivid and often I wake with a headache so I am not sure if they are causing this. It’s all a bit confusing x

Kathy, that’s all very well, but it doesn’t actually tell us what to do, other than tell your GP you have a sleep problem.

I just posted the article because someone had asked if there were any sleep studys done with migraine vs. sleep.

Jennifer, when my longtime, low-level dizziness got worse in the fall of 1999, I kept trying and trying to figure out what affected my “dizzyfog” (the difficulty with attention/concentration that makes you feel lost in a fog most of the time): weather? caffeine? pills? With careful record-keeping and trials, I only found one VERY clear and consistent pattern:

I felt MUCH better and clearer with minor sleep deprivation!!

My BEST days were ALWAYS ones when I’d had less than about 7 hours of sleep; 5-6 hours would leave me feeling on top of the world the next day. BUT–that was only if, preceding the short-sleep night, I was “well slept up”–having had a good 7.5 or 8 hours for the two previous nights.

If I had two or more days in a row of 8-hour sleep, I’d be dragging myself through foggy, unproductive, wasted days.

Thus, 8 hours + 8 hours + 5/6 hours = FEELING NORMAL THE NEXT DAY–bright, clear, energetic, full of plans and ambition.

I also found, in those early years, that I always felt most clear-headed in the late afternoons starting at almost exactly 4:00 pm (my “fog” followed a definite up-and-down circadian pattern linked STRONGLY to the time of day).

CONSTANT sleep deprivation was no good–I’d feel tired, achy, off-balance, more trouble thinking–but constant 8-hour nights were even worse. There had to be a balance.

These days what works best for me is trying to get 7 or 7.5 hours with an occasional 8-hour or even 8.5 hour-night. I also try to avoid staying up too late. But as long as I can sleep into the morning without being awakened artifically–until my body wants to wake up–I’m fine. (I cannot sleep if my alarm is set.)

Since I’ve been on Strattera (norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor; since 2004), that whole “fog” problem is basically resolved, or compensated for by the medication; I can concentrate pretty normally now, despite the continual low-level wooziness, and I don’t have the circadian ups and downs through the day anymore. BUT I still have a very definite pattern of feeling better in the afternoons generally. In the mornings I am much more motion-sensitive and like to avoid moving around too much or too fast. But by afternoon, my motion tolerance is greatly improved, and moving around is far less likely to trigger a woozy-lightheaded-nauseated spell. I’m thrilled because my new work schedule starting July 1 has only one “early” starting time, 9:15, and my other work days (in a busy public library where I’m always in motion) I don’t have to go in until noon or even 4 pm, yay!!!

So–I don’t think it’s the least strange that you feel better with a little sleep deprivation. It was, and to some extent still is, TOTALLY true for me. The trick is to figure out what amount of sleep works best for you. It’s better to keep an even amount every day and stick with regular bedtime and wake-up times. But boy, I sure did LOVE those 5-6 hour-sleep days following a couple of foggy 8-hour days. I’d feel like I could conquer the world, so happy to feel NORMAL for once.

This would always totally puzzle my doctors. “You feel better with LESS sleep??” That was the opposite of most dizzy people they saw. They couldn’t explain it. But it was the truest thing in the world for me–it was my daily experience and a VERY consistent thing.


Thus, 8 hours + 8 hours + 5/6 hours = FEELING NORMAL THE NEXT DAY–bright, clear, energetic, full of plans and ambition.

Wow Nancy, that is totally me!!! I couldnt explain it better myself!!! Its nice to know someonelse who feels the same!

I wish I knew exactly why this is true for us! What is happening in our brains???
I belive some of you are right, there is a neurotransmitter issue happening here. I just wish I knew what the exact problem is.
By the way that was a very interesting article posted!
They say that tricyclics stop REM sleep! maybe thats why Nancy you are feeling better on yours!

— Begin quote from "Kathy G"

I just posted the article because someone had asked if there were any sleep studys done with migraine vs. sleep.

— End quote

Sorry, I didn’t mean for that to sound harsh. I was just desperately looking for the direction it was pointing us in.

We never seem to have an answer with anything :frowning:

that’s ok :smiley:

Me too. My sleep is all over the place nowadays, but when I only sleep 3 or 4 hours, I have no headache and feel better. I noticed this years ago. I have been right around the clock on no sleep and felt OK to do stuff the next day, one or two big waves of sleepiness during the day but otherwise OK. Also, my severe vertigo attacks always used to wake me at 4 in the morning, I wonder if theres a connection. I tried the serotonin connection, but raising my serotonin seems to give me bad heads as do the SSRIs. I did do the saliva cortisol tests, more than once and found that the cortisol was too low at lunchtime, sometimes at bedtime etc. maybe theres a connection, but then we go into the adrenal fatigue thing, so I dont know. Anybody seeing a specialist at the moment, might like to ask them whats going on with the sleep.

Also, I never ever wake refreshed.