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I wake up with migraines

Hello. I'm new to the forum. I'm 42 and I've had migraines for about 12 years. Over the past year I've noticed that I am getting migraines overnight. I go to sleep fine and then I'm awakened by throbbing migraine pain between 4 and 6 am. I've tried using a mouth guard from my dentist to stop the teeth clenching, but that doesn't seem to make a difference. Does anyone else have this issue?

I take Imitrex and I've just gotten the cefaly device, so I'm going to give that a try. But... When I wake up with migraine I've noticed that if I take an Imitrex and go right back to sleep, the medication is not effective. I've found that if I get up and get my blood flowing for about 20-30 minutes, it seems to work better. All I want to do is close my eyes and lay down but I know it will just get worse. Anyone else notice that?

Thanks for any advice.


  1. Angie,

    It's best to check in with your doctor. Many people go through cycles with their migraine attacks, where they'll come on at a certain time of day for months, then move to another time. There's also a headache disorder separate from migraine called hypnic headache, where a person wakes up with a headache about four hours after going to sleep. You're younger than the typical person with hypnic headache and I'm not sure how frequently this happens to you, but it could be good to rule this out.

    The nighttime migraines are frustrating because by the time you know you have one, it's usually too late for the medication to be as effective as if you caught the migraine early on. You may want to look into a triptan with a delivery system that works more quickly than a tablet -- like Imitrex injections or dissolvable Maxalt. Another type of drug might also be more effective, like an ergot-based migraine abortive (Migranal is a nasal spray) or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (like Cambia, a powdered NSAID that works more quickly than a tablet). Or maybe an OTC painkiller with caffeine might help.

    You have a variety of options. It would be best to weigh them with your doctor to find the best solution for you.

    Good luck!


    1. Thank you Kerrie. I didn't realize this could even possibly be a different type of headache. I will definitely talk to my neurologist about it. This happens about 3 or 4 times a month and usually in clusters. Thanks.

      1. Hello, I am new here but have been reading, I am heading to the docs tomorrow to hopefully get started on a preventative, I have been using imatrex for such a long time now but it makes me so tired and i have to work, it is so hard feel like i am in a constant battle if i am not dead tired and foggy then i am in pain. But the frequency is getting to be so much more 4 times a week and i also the majority of the time wake up with it. I have been getting migraines since i was 13 now I am 51 and they are just getting worse... hoping for some help on what to try it seems there are so many things out there now.

        thank you Leean

        1. Leean,

          Please let us know how you're doing. I hope that your appointment with the doctor went well. Remember that there are many, many approaches to treating migraine disease and it may take time to find what works for you. In the meantime, we're here as a source of support.

          Take care,
          Janet G.
          "The Migraine Girl"

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