Migraine during sleep

Wondering if this has happened to others. I often wake in the early hours with a migraine, take pain killers, slather on the tiger balm, and go back to sleep. But a few times now, including last night, I've woken with flashing lights that have clearly got to about mid point so have been going on for a good ten minutes or so in my sleep.

I find it really annoying, worse than a headache as you can't go back to sleep until they've all gone and they're so boring. The visual disturbance is by far the bit I hate the most about migraines, I even prefer pain and nausea. It just freaks me out 😩😩😩

15 Replies

  • If I'm going to get a bad head I usually wake up with it. I also had an aura migraine in the night on one occasion and like you it was well under way. They don't really bother me. I was still sleepy and just went back to sleep. At least the aura migraines ones don't. hurt. You can however still see them flashing even if you close your eyes. My Doctor wants me to go on aspirin because of my age and the fact they only started about a year ago.

  • Yes I know they're not painful and I really can't explain why they distress me so much, but they really do!

    I think with pain, whilst I sometimes get such bad pain I have to stay in bed until it subsides and can't eat etc due to nausea.. a lot of time, even if it's painful and I have some nausea, I'm so used to it I can carry on and go to work and do stuff etc..although I'd prefer not to be in bright lights and have to dim all my screens... but with the flashing lights, you just can't do anything, it feels very intrusive to me somehow. But at least it doesn't last too long, although my vision doesn't get totally back to normal for ages, so I can't work..

    I can't take the low dose aspirin, as it effects my stomach, often if you get migraine your gut isn't the best anyhow! I did take it for a bit but developed problems as result. Now I'm stuck with paracetamol for pain relief 🙄

  • My migraines alway start between 3.30-4.30 am. It wakes me up, if I don't tackle it straight away it becomes untreatable. Aura without pain sounds like a hypnic migraine, have you ever seen a headache speacialist ?

  • My Doctor says migraine without pain is normal. She does however want to give me the aspirin because I'm 73 and the auras have only started about a year ago. I think she believes as I do that I'm at risk of strokes. My Mother had strokes although she was in her eighties when she did and my Sister has had several what I think is TIAs which is mini strokes. I think that maybe because she smokes. None of my family suffer with migraines which I find a bit odd. I thought it followed in families. I can see where the Doctor is coming from and I am going to give the aspirin a try.

    I've never heard of Hypnic migraine before and No! I haven't been to see a Specialist. Although I've suffered with some kind of migraine all my life I never even thought of going to see a Doctor about it till only a few years ago. I thought it was something you just put up with. I've suffered some really bad ones where I really don't know what to do with myself and luckily now I get quite a few headaches and new to me aura migraines but not really bad migraines. Maybe because I'm on Clonidine Hydrochloride which is supposed to help prevent them. I'm always afraid they're lurking somewhere in the background. The thing is they keep changiing.

  • Ask your GP for a referral to a neurologist, they really should do if you've never had one.

    It is true that it's normal but still I only feel sure I know what mine are due to having had brain MRI twice, and neurologist opinion, also I went to an eye clinic.

    I think I'd also want a neurologist opinion about the stroke risk etc, but if you have no issues with low dose aspirin then of course it can't hurt.

    I really feel that it's so true that we look for the headache. I do it all the time, it's very difficult to break the habit 😕

  • I would love for them to do an MRI but I don't suffer enough with bad heads to warrant it. I very much doubt if I would even be able to see a Neurologist. My Doctors won't do anything unless they have to. If it was when I was young I would push for it as I used to get excruciating migraines. I think it's just a getting older thing that I'm now getting aura migraines. I was very worried when they first started but now I'm getting used to them. I don't understand why I'm the only one in my family that gets migraine. They say it runs in families. My youngest Son gets bad heads occasionally but I'm not sure if it's migraine. They seem to knock him down. He takes paracetamol which he finds doesn't work and neurofen which it usually does. None of those would even touch me. I've known him have to go to bed sometimes with one. I'm going to see my Doctor again on Thursday. I will mention to her about a neurologist.

  • When I started getting flashing lights every day, I get little ones, sometimes for a few minutes, not the full aura which I get occasionally.. I just went to my GP and said I thought it might be a brain tumour, given things are different from my previous pattern. She referred me straight for a brain MRI and I had it within two weeks.

    I think that's the point, everyone with migraine at some point worries about brain tumours, and they need to be ruled out.

    Not that I think you've got one!! I'm sure it's fine but you've got a right to have a proper assessment with smoeone who is a brain expert!

  • I've definitely wondered if I had a brain tumour when my head was so bad. When you suffer pain like that it's going to make you wonder. I don't get flashing lights every day in fact not too often. I did get them five out of six days before Christmas but I think that was because of stress. I've read up quite a bit about it and it seems that my auras are typical for someone who has had the pain migraines. Of course I will always wonder though.

  • Yeah I think it's worth just asking, made me feel much better both times I've had the MRI. My GP at the time was sayIng it's probably stress, but didn't hesitate to order the test.

    Especially if you had them five days in a row, good reason to ask.

  • I wake almost every night with my head coming off. Often times I never go back to sleep, so I am tired all the time. I am taking rizitriptan sometimes twice a day and always at least once a day. I am using up all my medication and can't get more than 18 pills for three months. I am constipated from ruining my stomach with aspirin. I am so scared, I feel like it is going to kill me.

  • You poor thing. Do you ever use 4head or Tiger Balm? I would never go back to sleep without it, I use lots of it, and take painkillers. I find that if I put them all over my neck, and forehead, basically the heat from them is so strong, that it relaxes me back to sleep. Then I may well wake again at 7 or so with a headache, but at least I've slept. My next step is then always lying in a very warm bath which helps a lot!

  • I hope that you folks aren't taking the aspirin on an empty stomach. You should be taking it with food.

  • Sometimes that happens to me. I'm an adolescent, and I get migraines about 7 times a month maybe more. If I don't have one in a long time, that one is SO BAD almost like a buildup of pain. Anybody know "the calm before the storm" ? That is what is there right before the big bang. It feels like when the nurse cleans the area she's going to stick a vaccination needle in. You know its coming, but can't think of anything to stop it!!

    Usually when I get a migraine or feel one coming on, the first thing I do is get some water no matter where I am. At school or at home. It always gives me some relief. If I get one in the evening, I will rush to finish my homework so I can shower and go to bed early. Once I peacefully fall asleep for the full 10 hours the pain is gone. If the pain is too severe I will just take some children's ibroprofen and call it a day. I try not to take anything, but I'm too young to bare with the pain! Sometimes I experience throbbing and pain on the left side of my head and my left eye and left ear. I don't know why its always been that way. I found that drinking lime infused water helps, and I also like to massage my neck and put an ice pack and pressure on my eye and ear. I will be visiting the eye doctor soon, hoping that only this is the cause of my relentless torture. My mother also got migraines when she was around my age (9-16). I'm a female but haven't started my "you know what" yet. PLEASE HELP ME HEADACHE COMMUNITY!! :(

  • Sorry to hear about this. I think you sound like you've got some good strategies. Definitely see your GP if you haven't, but eye tests also sound good.

    It might be hormones? If it is you'll find out once you have a monthly cycle as the migraine will be linked.

  • I have eye migraines periodically, which last exactly 20 minutes. Sometimes I awaken at night, which is usual, but wake to see an eye migraine in progress...no pain, though.....the ones that I have during the day usually, but not always, leave me with a dull, lasting headache....

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