Prodrome: Anyone Need A Nap?
Last updated: September 2022
Sleeping Beauty is my favorite Disney princess. As a child, I was enthralled by the way she could dance so effortlessly with chapeaux-wearing forest owls. It was as an adult that I truly identified with her. Namely, the way she could sleep through anything. If an evil sorceress, turning into a dragon, having epic battles with a prince in her own castle wasn’t going to wake her up, then nothing was. That's totally me. When the sleepy-time prodrome phase of my migraine kicks in, a fire-breathing dragon in my own living room won’t rouse me.
Prodrome: The beginning of a migraine
Prodrome. Until I suffered from migraines, this word was totes foreign to me — much like the word “totes” until my tween niece and I started texting. I discovered that “prodrome” is the term given to the beginning stage of a migraine.
Warning signs and symptoms
It’s an early warning sign or symptom that a migraine is about to begin. These include: fatigue, depression, anxiety, irritability, excessive yawning, being way thirsty, food cravings, sensitivity to light or sound, and/or nausea. Initially, I had no idea what my early warning sign(s) might be. I mean, I knew I was a Virgo but I didn’t think that was the kind of “sign” that would help me with my migraines.
What's my biggest warning sign?
I figured if I could suss out what my main warning sign was then perhaps this knowledge could help me lessen the frequency of my migraines. So, I paid close attention to how my body behaved. My sun sign did actually come in handy because my Virgo-like attention to detail took over and I started a list. I wrote how I felt in the hours before a migraine stuck me down. I began to notice fatigue as one of my signs.
Fatigue as a prodrome symptom
In the beginning, I didn’t see how my fatigue and migraines were related. I believed I was just so tired because I hadn’t slept well the night before. But once I saw my list marking down the fatigue in conjunction with a migraine, I saw the signs.
Not just feeling tired
It became more clear when I realized that this wasn’t just the “I need to take a 20-minute power nap” kind of tired. This sort of sleepiness felt like I’d gone on a 14-hour flight, changed time zones seven times, went disco dancing, and then stayed up all night with my colicky newborn. I could not stay awake when the prodrome took over.
Combatting the fatigue
Learning my warning early signs enabled me to take steps to sidestep my pain. Sometimes if I slept when prodrome took over, my migraine left. There were instances it was a combination of tactics like a hot shower, caffeine, and sleep that knocked it out. Then occasionally I felt the fatigue pulling harder and I knew it was time for prescribed medication.
Sleeping Beauty is my spirit princess. I thank her for her valuable lessons because she and both know the value of a hardcore nap. And who knows, maybe she’s just sleeping through the prodrome phase of her migraine too...
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