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Sleep Disorders

Not Sleeping Well and Headache

03/22/2010

Question:

Lately i have been wakeing up about two to four times a night, and i will have a headache all day.I am not sure why i can not sleep i never would have a problem before.

Answer:

Thank you for using NetWellness and you are right to seek help for the problems you are experiencing. Unfortunately, your question does not have enough information in for me to determine why you are having trouble sleeping. Additional history, and perhaps a physical examination, will be required to offer you advice. In the absence of that information, I can provide you with some general statements about sleep problems and hope that you find some of this useful.

Waking up frequently at night can be troublesome. There are a long list of reasons for individuals to have trouble sleeping through the night that may range from a poor sleep environment (too noisy, too warm, not dark enough) to side effects of medications or substances (such as caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine) to medical problems (such as conditions associated with pain or shortness of breath, heartburn, depression, anxiety) to primary sleep disorders (such as breathing disorders in sleep, leg jerks during sleep or wakefulness and circadian rhythm disturbances). As you can, it's important to obtain additional information to determine which, if any, of these problems may be contributing to your sleep problems. Determining the cause of the frequent awakenings is usually the first step in treating the problem.

Sometimes, simply improving sleep hygiene and sleep-related behaviors can help. This may include simple measures such as keeping a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine and alcohol within 4-6 hours of bedtime, avoiding exercise and/or hot showers near bedtime, and making sure the bedroom is quite, dark and comfortable.

The daytime headaches you note may or may not be related to your sleep problem. Again, without additional detailed information, it's hard to determine what the cause of your headaches may be.

To learn more about sleep disorders, please visit the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. In addition to information, the website contains a list of Sleep Centers across the country so that you may locate one near you if needed. Good luck and here's to better sleep!

For more information:

Go to the Sleep Disorders health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Dennis   Auckley, MD Dennis Auckley, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University