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Nighttime headaches: How can I get relief?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nighttime-headaches/AN00992
- With Mayo Clinic neurologist
Jerry W. Swanson, M.D.read biographyclose window
Jerry W. Swanson, M.D.Jerry W. Swanson, M.D.
Dr. Jerry Swanson is a board-certified neurologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He is also board certified in headache medicine and is a professor of neurology at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic. He has a special interest in medical education.
Dr. Swanson, a Lacon, Ill., native, was appointed to the Mayo Clinic staff in 1982 and works in the Department of Neurology with more than 90 other physicians. He formerly chaired the department's Division of Headache and continues to work with headache subspecialists around the world. He has published and lectured widely on headache disorders. He also serves as assistant dean for assessment at Mayo Medical School.
"In a manner similar to the printing press, Internet technology enables the unprecedented ability to communicate with the global community about health information," Dr. Swanson says. "There is no doubt that the knowledgeable individual contributes greatly to his or her own health care, and now we can share information much more widely.
"There is much information already available about health care on the Internet. Unfortunately, much of it is not founded on sound principles. It is exciting to be a part of the web team and contribute to the creation of a reliable and timely health resource."
Dr. Swanson is the neurology editor for "Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and has reviewed articles for "Mayo Clinic Health Letter" and "Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource." He is also editor-in-chief of the "Mayo Clinic on Headache" book, published in 2004. In 2008 the magazine Women's Health named him one of America's Top Doctors for Women. In 2011 he received the Mayo Medical School Dean's Recognition Award for his contributions to undergraduate medical education.
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Nighttime headaches: How can I get relief?
I am awakened by nighttime headaches. What should I do?
from Jerry W. Swanson, M.D.
If you have nighttime headaches or headaches that awaken you from sleep, see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis. Treatment for nighttime headaches varies, depending on the type of headache and any underlying causes.
Hypnic — or "alarm clock" — headaches, which begin only during sleep, usually awaken a person at the same time every night. It's also possible to have daytime naps interrupted by hypnic headaches. Hypnic headaches are most common after age 50.
The exact cause of hypnic headaches isn't known, but treatments that may provide relief for some individuals include:
- Lithium (Lithobid) — a medication used to treat bipolar disorder
- Indomethacin (Indocin) — a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication
- Melatonin — a hormone that helps control your natural sleep-wake cycle
- Caffeine — taken as a tablet or beverage before bedtime
There are reports of small numbers of people whose headaches respond to other agents.Next question
Migraines: Are they triggered by weather changes?
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