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The Role of Sleep in Migraines: A Nutritional Therapist's Perspective

Updated: Apr 23

As a nutritional therapist in the UK, I've seen firsthand the profound impact that sleep can have on migraine frequency and severity. Sleep is not just a time for rest; it's a critical period of restoration and repair for the body and mind. When sleep is disrupted or inadequate, it can trigger or exacerbate migraines in susceptible individuals. In this blog post, I'll explore the intricate relationship between sleep and migraines and offer practical tips for improving sleep quality to support migraine management.


migraine

Understanding the Sleep-Migraine Connection

Research has shown that poor sleep quality, insufficient sleep duration, and irregular sleep patterns are associated with an increased risk of migraines. Sleep disturbances can trigger migraines by disrupting the body's natural circadian rhythms, altering neurotransmitter levels, and increasing inflammation. Additionally, sleep deprivation can lower the pain threshold, making individuals more susceptible to migraine triggers.


Nutritional Strategies for Better Sleep

  1. Balanced Diet: A well-balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods can support healthy sleep patterns. Foods rich in tryptophan (an amino acid precursor to serotonin and melatonin) and magnesium (which plays a role in regulating sleep) may be particularly beneficial. Examples include turkey, chicken, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and whole grains.

  2. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol: Caffeine and alcohol can disrupt sleep patterns and exacerbate migraines. Limiting or avoiding these substances, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime, can promote better sleep quality.

  3. Establish a Sleep Routine: Creating a consistent sleep routine can help regulate the body's internal clock and improve sleep quality. Aim for a regular bedtime and wake-up time, even on weekends, and engage in relaxing activities before bed to signal to your body that it's time to wind down.

  4. Mindful Eating Practices: Avoid heavy meals, spicy foods, and large amounts of fluids close to bedtime, as these can disrupt sleep. Opt for lighter, easily digestible meals in the evening and avoid eating within two to three hours of bedtime.

  5. Hydration: Staying hydrated throughout the day is important for overall health, but be mindful of fluid intake in the evening to avoid frequent trips to the bathroom during the night, which can disrupt sleep.

  6. Get an Evening / Night time routine: preparing the body for sleep can be very beneficial when working with clients, from meal timings, to the environment you sleep in and supporting the body in its circadian rhythm can be very beneficial. When i work with clients this is something we discuss and work on.

  7. Supplementation: Some individuals may benefit from nutritional supplements that support sleep.



As a nutritional therapist, I recognise the critical role that sleep plays in migraine management. By incorporating these nutritional strategies into your daily routine, you can support healthy sleep patterns and potentially reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. Remember that individual responses to dietary changes may vary, so it's essential to listen to your body and when working with a professional we can work with an approach to sleep and migraine management. Prioritising sleep as part of your overall wellness plan can lead to significant improvements in migraine symptoms and overall quality of life.


Nutritional and naturopathic strategies have been shown to help reduce migraine occurrence and severity and increase the quality of life for many sufferers. As a migraine nutritionist, we will work together, with an aim of understanding your individual triggers and drivers, both within food and lifestyle. 

Each migraine sufferer will be unique in presentation, and therefore unique in their treatment plan. I know this only to well with my own life changing experience of migraine associated vertigo. I am only too aware of how migraines can be totally disabling and the struggles you may be facing. For me, diet and lifestyle was an area that was never really discussed in a  medical treatment plan. I have myself discovered how powerful a personalised migraine diet plan, optimal nutrition and lifestyle management can be to any migraine sufferer. 

Working with my clients on an individual basis gives me the opportunity to understand not only them as a person but also their medical history and understand their wider picture, such as genetics, lifestyle, hormonal, dietary and whole body snapshot which can be so important and often overlooked when looking to treat migraines. Understanding where the root causes can be coming from is very important to managing migraines.

We will work together, providing you with a plan, in which we will continue to build upon, week by week, to support you to understand your migraine triggers and drivers. My aim is to education and empower you to manage and raise your migraine threshold. Your plan will include diet and nutrition advice, including recipe, product and shopping advice, through to areas requiring support such as hormonal, endocrine health, sleep, environmental and stress management advice. Recommendation on supplementation and other tools are provided. Where needed, functional medicine testing such as hormonal, stool, blood and genetic testing can be beneficial to understand your wider migraine picture.

You may wish to read further information regarding migraines in my blog posts, as well as read my story, where I talk further into the role of nutrition, gut health, hormonal health and nutrigenomics for example.


I am a Nutritional Therapist offering one-to-one, in-person, or online consultations.


My Specialist areas include:

🥦 Menopause & Perimenopause

🍎 Female Hormonal Health

🥑 Migraines & Headaches

🫐 Digestive & Gut Health

🍋 Food Sensitivities & Special Diets

🍉 Energy & Vitality (including fibromyalgia & chronic conditions)


Naturopathic Nutrition's holistic approach to health & wellness recognises the interconnection between diet, nutrition, lifestyle & overall wellbeing to support the body's natural healing processes & provide necessary nutrients to help you optimise your health, & feel your best!




migraine nutritionist


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