A new research has found that sleep deprivation can trigger off migraine proteins in the body and cause severe headaches the next morning and also result in other chronic pain conditions.
Researchers found that sleep deprived rats gave off very high levels of protein that arouse the nervous system and low levels of proteins that shut it down. And this is what cases headaches the next morning and causes for lethargy and loss of productivity.
The study, carried out at the Missouri State University by a group of researchers led by Paul L. Durham, would be presented at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the American Headache Society in Los Angeles, a report published in WebMD says.
Sleep deprivation is a condition of stress and under such circumstances, the arousal proteins get triggered at high levels that induce pain. It was found that rats deprived of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep for three successive days had high levels of p38 and PKA proteins.
These proteins are supposed to regulate the sensory response in the trigeminal nerves of the face, which in turn is thought to play a crucial role in migraines. Additionally, it triggered increase in P2X3 protein that is linked to chronic pain.
The trigeminal nerve is believed to be the route through which migraine attacks are initiated and the latest study attempts to find what molecular changes are occurring along this nerve route that triggers the pain, the researchers said.
In fact, there is also a flip side to sleep as too much of it can cause migraines too. The American Headache Society estimates that about 12 percent of Americans suffer from migraine headaches, with most of them having one or two attacks a month.
About three percent of the population suffers from chronic migraines that stays with them for at least 15 days every month, the society says while hoping that understanding the molecular pathways that cause these headaches could result in better preventive drugs.
While getting enough sleep is crucial for people with migraines, having a sleep routine is even more critical as too much of sleep at one time can also cause headaches. The research team says Saturday morning headaches are a result of too much sleep as people who normally wake up at 6 a.m. sleep a couple of hours more on Saturdays.