Back to Back Issues Page
HeadWay, Issue #189 Your Questions: Fragmented Sleep (and something Koool)
May 21, 2020

If you're interested in advertising in HeadWay, you'll find the information here.

In this issue:

Your Questions: Fragmented Sleep (and something Koool)

At Headache and Migraine News

Say what?!

Your Questions: Fragmented Sleep (and something Koool)

Thanks for your responses to the March newsletter about sleep. I would like to highlight a couple of follow-up questions/comments, so that we have some more to talk about. :)

Angela from the USA wrote in that she struggles with "fragmented sleep" every night, and she feels this is a big part of her struggle with chronic migraine.

Jan, also from the USA, has also struggled with fragmented sleep, saying that she has noticed the pattern of a migraine attack two days later. I'm going to quote a significant portion of her message:'s another quirk to my pattern... if I sleep over 4 or 5 hours at a time, I also get a migraine. So when I would sleep a full 8 hours without interruption, I would end up with a 3 day super bad migraine. So... I started setting an alarm for the middle of the night to wake me up to pee and have a drink of mineral water and then back to bed and hopefully sleep. This usually works, but there are times when I can't get back to sleep and then I have a migraine from that.

She finishes by saying that she does pay special attention to "sleep hygiene", trying to cover the basics that we've all heard.

These are big topics that we're only going to start talking about today. But here are a few things to think about:
  • "Fragmented Sleep": Remember that fragmented sleep is a symptom, not a disease. In other words, it's one aspect of "poor sleep" that could have many, many causes. Angela and Jan are right - sleep quality and migraine are closely connected (if you haven't read it, check out This Key Sleep Question Could Lead to Better Treatment for Headache Disorders). So there's no one-size-fits-all solution. You will need to spend some time with a specialist to figure out what is causing fragmented sleep in your case.
  • Sleep hygiene: Jan is right to focus on some of the basics, even though they may not solve the problem for everyone. For some specific migraineur-focused tips, check out Getting to sleep with migraine
  • Two sleeps?: One important tip when it comes to sleep - don't feel like you have to sleep like everyone else. In other words, don't stress out if you feel like you "don't fit the pattern". Did you know, for example, that it used to be common for everyone to have "two sleeps", and to be up in the middle of the night reading or writing or doing other activities? Did you know that some people really do need 10-11 hours of sleep?
  • Hydration: Keeping an eye on hydration really is important. Angela Stanton has done a lot of study into migraine and hydration, and you may find her suggestions useful. Get the whole story in Fighting The Migraine Epidemic: A Complete Guide: How To Treat & Prevent Migraines Without Medicine. But you certainly will want to experiment with how much you drink water before bed, having a glass by the bed for the middle of the night, etc.
Those are just a few things to help keep us thinking about this critical issue. Another interesting study on sleep has just come out, which I hope to write about at Headache and Migraine News.

Susanne from the USA wrote this kind note that I want to share with you. "Be koool migraine strips have been a wonderful aid in cutting short attacks for me. I found out about them from you, and I thank you!"

Thanks, Susanne! I'm simply sharing that because I personally have really appreciated Be Koool for Migraine, and I think many readers will find them helpful if they haven't already tried them.

At Headache and Migraine News

A few recent articles that you might want to check out:

Say what?! Sleep Efficiency

Sleep Efficiency is a metric that is used in sleep tests. Contrary to what one might guess, it has nothing to do with how deeply you're sleeping (at least, not directly).

Sleep efficiency is calculated by taking the total time of sleep - no matter what "stage" of sleep you're in - and dividing it by time in bed. It's then multiplied by 100 to give you a percentage.

For example, if I am in bed for 8 hours, but I'm only asleep for 6.5 hours (maybe it took me hald an hour to get to sleep, and then I was up for an hour in the night), I'll have a sleep efficiency of 6.5/8=0.8125x100= 81.25% sleep efficiency.

A sleep specialist would probably see that as a little low - you usually want 85% or higher.

Thanks for reading!  Remember, if you have feedback or ideas for future issues, visit the HeadWay MailRoom.  Your password is nomoache.
Back to Back Issues Page