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Expert advice on advanced diagnosis and treatment of painful headaches and migraines from the leading headache clinic in New Jersey.

Insomnia and Headaches

Gabriel Santos - Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Payman Sadeghi, MD

insomnia and Headaches: Is One Causing the Other?

Insomnia is a Symptom, not a Medical Condition  

Is your headache the cause of insomnia or the result of it? The link between lack of sleep and the frequency or intensity of chronic headaches has been known for more than a century. It's time to find out the cause of your migraine, cluster or tensions headaches

Insomnia is a condition where individuals have trouble falling or staying asleep. It is fairly common among those who suffer from migraines. Some research indicates that persistent pain may be keeping these individuals awake or preventing them from enjoying a sound, restful sleep.

common Symptoms of Insomnia

Nothing is more frustrating than lack of sleep and a headache that won’t go away. Chronic daily headaches or ‘waking headaches’ are typically associated with poor sleep. Here are some other common signs of insomnia.

  • difficulty falling asleep at night
  • waking up during the night
  • awakening too early
  • not feeling well rested after a night's sleep
  • daytime tiredness or sleepiness
  • irritability, depression or anxiety
  • difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks or remembering
  • increased errors or accidents

What if Your Chronic Headache is Not Caused by Insomnia?

Sleep deprivation, disturbed or interrupted sleep is recognized as one of the more commonly reported acute headache triggers among patients with migraine and tension headaches. But did you know that insomnia is actually a symptom, not a medical condition? It’s your body’s way of telling you something is not right. This could mean that your headache is causing insomnia and not the other way around.

Here’s what a research study conducted by the Headache Center of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA; Center for Sleep Evaluation, Elliot Hospital, Manchester, NH and Department of Psychiatry, Dartmouth Medical Center, Lebanon, NH found:

  • Sleep complaints were common and associated with headache in a sizeable proportion of patients. feeling well rested after a night's sleep
  • More than 50% of migraine sufferers reported difficulty initiating and maintaining sleep at least occasionally. aytime tiredness or sleepiness
  • Many in this sample reported chronically shortened sleep patterns similar to that observed in persons with insomnia, with 38% of patients sleeping on average 6 hours per night. rritability, depression or anxiety

At the New Jersey Headache Institute, we can diagnose the reason for your headaches. Our headache experts take the time to fully explore your condition to ensure we get to the root cause. Each case is examined individually, ensuring your headache treatment plan is designed specifically for you.

Headache pain is one of the top reasons for doctor's visits in the United States, and migraines are the number one type of headache that leads patients to the emergency room. We do a complete neurological examination and take a detailed look at patient history in order to determine the type of headache you have and provide effective treatment.

If you are suffering from insomnia and experiencing frequent or intense headaches, make an appointment with our team today for a thorough personal assessment. Call us at 908.660.4382 or use our contact form to book a consultation.

Dr. Payman Sadeghi is the co-founder of the New Jersey Headache Institute. He studied medicine at Nordestana University and finished his Internal Medicine internship and Neurology residency at the University of Texas.  Dr. Sadeghi has completed an electromyography super fellowship as well as many epilepsy and neuroimaging fellowships. At his residency in Neurology at the University of Texas Medical Branch Dr. Sadeghi gained extensive experience diagnosing and treating headache and migraine patients. That residency, along with Dr. Sadeghi's medical curiosity and his varied clinical experience, has made him a specialist in headaches and their treatment.

Dr. Sadeghi was also a clinical assistant professor during his time at the University of Texas. He is a member of the American Headache Society, the National Headache Foundation and the American Academy of Neurology. Dr. Sadeghi is fluent in English, Spanish, French and Persian.

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