The typical TV ad for headache medications shows someone scrunching up his eyes and complaining of a band of pain that feels like ‘a vice grip’.
But this isn’t your average headache.
This description is actually the definition of a tension headache, says HealthReachCHC.
It involves a constant, dull pain that’s not incapacitating, and can be felt on both sides of the head. The pain’s often accompanied by muscle tightness in the shoulders and neck and can last anywhere from an hour, up to a week.
That’s why these are described as the most annoying type of headache.
Now, there’s hope in sight if you regularly suffer from tension headaches
New research in the Journal of Neurological Sciences reveals that the sleep hormone, melatonin, could be what it takes to ease tension headaches.
This comes after a three-month study revealed that taking a 3mg melatonin supplement once a day decreased not just the number of painful days but also the severity of symptoms and anxiety in patients with chronic tension headaches, says Men's Health.
The reason melatonin eases a tension headache…
Melatonin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties play a role in blocking inflammatory enzymes that can lead to headaches.
You naturally secrete melatonin at around 7pm or 8pm – this is your body’s cue that it’s time for bed – so taking a melatonin supplement earlier in the day could leave you feeling sleepier earlier or with insomnia throughout the night, adds Men's Health.
But you don’t have to suffer from disturbed sleep patterns to ease your tension headaches.
You can make sure you get a better night’s sleep naturally.
Two ways to improve your melatonin production by improving the quantity – and quality – of your sleep…
As we explain here, all it takes is adding an hour’s sleep by going to bed an hour earlier or waking up an hour later.
You can also make sure your sleep’s uninterrupted by following our tip of getting away from your desk to go for a brisk walk, as this will make you more productive at the office as you’ll return to your desk in a different frame of mind. This, in turn, will increase job satisfaction – and if you’re more productive at work, you’ll be more likely to get a good night’s sleep.
Try getting more sleep tonight – it could be all it takes to clear the tension headache that’s been hanging around all week!