Can too much sleep trigger a migraine?

by ih-chi admin

We are often reminded that if we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies will suffer. Healthful, restorative sleep is necessary for optimal brain function (especially in children) and boosts immunity--something that is so important right now for all of us as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. 

But can too much sleep actually be harmful, too?

Some neurology experts, including Child Neurology Consultants of Austin’s own board-certified pediatric neurologist, Dr. Lindsay Elton, say that may be the case for headache sufferers.  

In a recent article for Popsugar, Dr. Elton helped explain how too much sleep can offset the body’s circadian rhythm and serotonin levels and potentially lead to headaches, or the more debilitating form known as migraines

Serotonin helps regulate sleep patterns and also has a hand in mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. 

Dr. Elton herself is a sufferer of migraines and says, "if I sleep in a lot — I kind of know what my threshold is — it's a guaranteed headache all day.” 

While it may be tempting to sleep in late or sneak in long naps while many families are still working and learning from home, it’s best to try not to in order to avoid these sleep-related headaches and migraines.

Tips for Avoiding Sleep Headaches

1. Log a healthy amount of sleep. In the vein of Goldilocks, that means not too little or too much, but just the right amount. Healthy sleep habits for children and recommended hours they need by age can be found here

2. Practice good sleep hygiene by creating a comfortable sleep environment, devoid of electronics, television, loud noises, or bright lights. 

3. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Even if attending school or working from home, try to wake up and hit the hay at the same time each day. 

If your child is experiencing headaches or migraines or other sleep-related issues, please contact us at Child Neurology Consultants of Austin to schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric experts.