Scientists suggest that sleep is the main driver of migraine misery for millions.
About 35 million Americans and 6 million Brits suffer from migraines, yet doctors have been unable to pinpoint why so many suffer from chronic headaches.
Australian researchers have now found that the majority of people who suffer from frequent headaches have lower levels of melatonin – the hormone associated with sleep.
They believe that the hypothalamus, which is responsible for regulating the body’s internal clock, could be the epicenter of migraines and cluster headaches.
They said that cheap melatonin supplements may be an effective treatment for migraine sufferers, who currently have few options.
Australian researchers have found that migraines and cluster headaches can be a result of a person’s circadian rhythm, and using devices to change the cycle may be able to prevent them (file photo)
The hypothalamus (hypothalamus) is located deep in the brain and is responsible for communicating many signals from the rest of the body to the brain. This includes the internal clock that causes a person to wake up each night
“The data suggests that both of these headache disorders are significantly circadian on multiple levels, particularly cluster headaches,” said Dr. Mark Joseph Borich, a researcher from the University of Texas.
This reinforces the importance of the hypothalamus – the region of the brain that houses the primary biological clock – and its role in cluster headaches and migraines. It also raises questions about the genetics of triggers such as sleep changes that are known to be migraine triggers and are signals of the body’s circadian rhythm.
The hypothalamus is located deep in the brain and is responsible for communication between the vital organ and the rest of the nervous system
It controls many physical feelings, such as fatigue, hunger, thirst, or the desire for sex. This includes the circadian rhythm.
On average, Americans typically go to bed around 11:30 p.m. and wake up around 7 a.m., and that’s what the body is best suited for.
Researchers believe that because headaches seem to be related to time and melatonin levels, the circadian rhythm could be at the heart of these pains.
Melatonin is a compound produced naturally in the brain. The brain will naturally release it during the night, stimulating the feeling of tiredness that begins to set in.
According to the Migraine Institute, about 35 million Americans suffer from migraines.
It is characterized by a throbbing, pulsating pain in the side of the person’s head. Those who suffer regularly will be familiar with the nausea, vomiting, and photosensitivity associated with them.
Migraines come in waves, which doctors call “attacks,” with the pain appearing for hours or days at a time.
Cluster headaches are rare, affecting less than one percent of the population. In these cases, a person can experience a pain attack that lasts for weeks or even months.
Doctors aren’t sure why either condition develops, which makes it difficult to develop effective treatments for them.
But, the Australian team may have found a breakthrough by linking these headaches to a person’s daily cycle.
for their research, Published in the journal Neurology On Wednesday, the Australian team collected data from 33 previous studies from around the world.
Across the body of the research, 4,953 participants who suffered from cluster headaches and 5,385 who experienced migraines were included.
Just over 50 percent of migraine sufferers showed what researchers described as a “daily pattern” of attacks.
This means that headaches often appear between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am each day. It was also more frequent between April and October.
What’s more, those whose screening included hormone testing were found to have lower levels of the sleep hormone and increased cortisol – which triggers the body’s stress response.
A similar result was found for cluster headache patients, although their pain was more likely to occur between the hours of 9 pm to 3 am each day.
“These findings raise the possibility that circadian clock-based therapies can be used for headache disorders,” said Dr. Borich.
This can include both treatments based on circadian rhythms — such as taking medications at certain times of the day — and treatments that cause circadian changes, which some medications can do.
One simple remedy could be something in a person’s medicine cabinet at the moment – melatonin supplements.
Sold in the form of pills and gummies, dietary supplement sales jumped 42.6 percent from 2019 to 2020. The market is expected to increase fivefold Between 2020 and 2028, analysts say.
Even some major food manufacturers, such as Pepsi and Boost cereal, have entered the sleep-promoting goods market.
Many have also turned to over-the-counter supplements to increase melatonin levels in the body and get them to sleep quickly.