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Having headache which goes off with a nap, smoking addiction. On sleeping pills. Chances of getting cluster headaches?

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Practicing since : 2003
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I was reading about cluster headaches and got a little worried. I am 34, smoker. I get a mild pain in the left temple sometimes, but it is not like cluster. It is very mild, its not severe for 10 mins --2 hours, but very mild throughout the day. Also it does not start after I sleep, in fact taking a nap makes it better. I don’t have migraine or sinus etc. But am I at risk of getting cluster headaches in future because I smoke?? There is NO family or personal history of cluster headaches or migraines. Recently there have been changes in my sleep pattern because of a new job and I have been taking sleeping pills as prescribed by a doctor. Do you think this might cause the pain because if take a good afternoon nap, the pain is not there. There is no stuffy nose or tearing in the eyes, just pain in the left temple.
Posted Thu, 3 May 2012 in Headache and Migraines
Answered by Dr. Gyanshankar Mishra 46 minutes later

Thanks for posting the query on XXXXXXX

After going through your history, i would like to comment the following:

1. Your symptoms are not suggestive of cluster headache at present.

2. Lack of sleep definitely causes headache. Since you have been started on sleeping pills, you must also practice sleep hygiene. Here are a few tips to help you sleep well:
•     Sleep only when sleepy
•     If you can't fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up and do something boring until you feel sleepy
•     Don't take naps
•     Get up and go to bed the same time every day
•     Refrain from exercise at least 4 hours before bedtime
•     Develop sleep rituals
•     Only use your bed for sleeping (not for reading, watching tv etc.)
•     Stay away from caffeine, nicotine and alcohol at least 4-6 hours before bed
•     Have a light snack before bed
•     Take a hot bath 90 minutes before bedtime
•     Make sure your bed and bedroom are quiet and comfortable

Also remember that it is recommended to sleep atleast 8 hours per day to energise your system and XXXXXXX the metabolic requirements.

3. Also do check up your eyes for refractory error (glasses). They also cause similar complaints.

4. Smoking will worsen cluster headache if you develop in future. Smoking is also related to sleep problems. Remember smoking is harmful for every system of your body. So quit smoking.

I hope I have answered your query. Please accept my answer if you have no follow up queries. I will be glad to answer any follow up queries.

Wish you good health.

Take care.


Dr. Gyanshankar Mishra
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