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Night shift and Headaches?


I know we can't ask for medical advice, but I am seeking some knowledge about if anyone else who works nights has had this happen and what helped for them? I have been a headache/migraine sufferer my whole life, but I just started a job working nights (7p-7a) at the beginning of August and it seems like I am having an average of 3-4 headaches a week, occasionally one of them turning into a full blown migraine. These headaches don't occur until after I sleep when I get off work and I will wake up with them. I end up sleeping from about 8am to 1-3pm. It seems like when I wake up my head feels like it's being smushed by pressure and I feel like I haven't slept for days. My only relief is when I get my 3 day weekend every other weekend and I can sleep during the night, but even then instill have to take meds for headache. Anyone else experience anything like this and know why?

My husband is a chronic migraine sufferer. Your sleep schedule (and the number of hours you sleep) is a potential migraine trigger. Changes in hormones on different shifts can trigger headaches and antagonize what sounds like an innate tendency toward headaches in the first place.

Try to keep a regular sleep schedule. That is, try to sleep the same hours on your days on and off. Switching shifts and varying sleep hours really messes with his headaches and makes them much worse/more frequent. He actually enjoys night shift because he's able to keep a relatively regular routine, but switching to nights can be a bit of a trick.

Edited by SoldierNurse22


Specializes in Emergency Nursing.

I too will suffer from HA's 3-4 days a week. I have been on night shift for almost 6 years as well. Mine are greatly triggered by the weather and hormones. I finally made a Dr appt to get something because I was taking so many NSAID's it was unreal. Now I take a daily medicine to help prevent and I got my life back. I have to go about once a year to switch up my regimine because my body will adjust and the HA come back. I do still get them, but not like I used to.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 41 years experience.

We cannot offer medical advice. Your best bet is making an appointment with your PCP/neurologist and investigate what is the best route to take.

Clearly rest, proper diet, and exercise are all important factors.


Has 16 years experience.

Do you drink caffeine? I avoid caffeine entirely because if I'm too tired to function properly and start getting sick in some way (including headaches), then it's a clear sign that I must change something in my life. Not having band-aids available like caffeine, ibuprofen etc. forces me to actually make those changes!

Take care of your body. You must do what it takes to create a schedule that works for you.

classicdame, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

consider dehydration. Also consider consult with healthcare provider

NicuGal, MSN, RN

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PACU. Has 30 years experience.

Make sure you are drinking enough water!