Migraines, LED Lights & Sleep Apnea

This past Sunday, my family ate at Penang, one of our favorite restaurants on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Immediately after our meal, my wife complained of a queazy stomach and a headache. We thought it was indigestion from eating too much and didn’t think much of it. After sleeping it off, she felt better.

In retrospect, I also had a peculiar symptom as well: sensitivity to bright LED lights. As I was driving home from the restaurant, while stopped behind a car with very bright LED tail lights, I do remember wincing, with a slight headache and a bit of nausea. Even the red and green LED traffic lights were bothering me.

Looking back at what happened, both my wife and I must have suffered from a temporary migraine attack. Both of us were sleep deprived from various events from over the weekend, and the naturally occurring MSG in the restaurant food that we ate must have triggered our migraine “episodes.”

I wrote a year ago about my episode of vertigo shortly after our third son, Brennan, was born, due to major sleep deprivation. In both these scenarios, sleep deprivation of any kind heightens your nervous system which makes you over-respond or become over-sensitive to certain forms of stimulation or triggers, whether it’s MSG, bright lights, or alcohol. Of course there are a number of other various triggers, when combined, which makes you much more susceptible to migraine attacks.

Even the hotel room  where I stayed last week had light that were just too bright to sleep with. I covered everything up with towels or books. Even in my bedroom, I used black electrical tape to cover up all the green and red LED lights so that I can sleep better.

Are you bothered by the newer brighter LED lights? Please enter your experiences in the comments box below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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3 thoughts on “Migraines, LED Lights & Sleep Apnea

  1. Van,

    I underwent a home sleep study recently, and although I didn’t have obstructive sleep apnea, I did have a few apneas which are considered “normal.” I know that I’m susceptible to sleep-breathig problems, especially when I have a cold or allergies. The basic premise of my book is that all humans are susceptible to various degrees.

  2. I have moderate to severe apnea (31 events per hour). I used to get migraines – since being a teenager some 40 years ago. Definitely had photophobia, often sound was a problem. Usually vomiting. Felt like I was suffering from a lack of oxygen. Usually started during the night. For a while they disappeared, but then came back. Seemed to be getting worse with age. Often every week. Triptans worked for a while, then stopped working. Since starting cpap a year ago I have not had more than one or two migraines and they usually respond to Excedrin. Don’t know if they could have been triggered by MSG – we eat a lot of Chinese food. However, since I now get them so rarely it’s hard to pin down a cause.