Neurology is one of the many specialties at The Insomnia and Sleep Institute, where Dr. Vimala Sravanthi Vajjala focuses on treating patients for epilepsy, facial pain, and headaches—all of which can negatively affect sleep. Neurology and sleep are intertwined. Sleep deprivation and lack of quality sleep impacts the brain’s normal function in a myriad of ways, such as causing problems in vision, memory, pain control, seizure control, and more. If you don’t get enough quality sleep, whether from untreated sleep apnea (which is very common) or another cause, your risk of memory issues, stroke, seizures, and headaches drastically increases.
Poor sleep quality can trigger and aggravate chronic headaches, including migraines. In turn, all kinds of headaches as well as facial pain can be a catalyst for insomnia and worsen sleep quality. The American Migraine Foundation estimates that up to 75 percent of American adults with chronic pain conditions, particularly migraines, also struggle with insomnia. Sleep is a popular tool to temporarily relieve headache, migraine, and facial pain, but can lead to a vicious cycle of staying in bed too long, sleeping during the day, and ultimately worsening insomnia by trying to use sleep as a “treatment” for migraines.
Seizures can often present as a type of sleep disorder, such as dream enactment behavior or sleep talking. However, in these instances, what is occurring are nocturnal seizures—sometimes due to epilepsy. There has been an association between sleep and epilepsy dating back to ancient Greece. By the nineteenth century, it was found that around 20 percent of people who experienced epilepsy seizures did so exclusively during sleep. Various sleep stages, such as REM and non-REM sleep, can either activate or inhibit epilepsy episodes. The relationship between headaches, seizures, and sleep is a complex one that requires unique experts—which are available to patients at The Insomnia and Sleep Institute of Arizona.
“Working with the team at the institute and especially working with Dr. Krietsch has been an absolutely amazing life-changing experience. If someone had told me I’d be sleeping through the night AND getting up at 5:30 am every morning a few months ago… I would have told them they were crazy. My life is 100% better, I am keeping the institutes cards on hand and have handed them out to people who say they have insomnia.”
“Professional and efficient from my first call to schedule and all the way to the end of my first appointment. Each office member you come in contact with will be courteous and kind. It didn’t take long to go back and see the doctor. Dr. Ramalingam was so thorough and calming. I highly recommend this caring office.”
“I had the best experience at The Insomnia and Sleep and Sleep Institute. The technicians are very friendly. I was very nervous and the technician was very patient and explained everything to me. She communicated to me every step of the way. Made feel at ease. I recommend this place.”
“I had the best experience at The Insomnia and Sleep and Sleep Institute. The technicians are very friendly. I was very nervous and the technician was vI love the people at this office! Everyone from Dr. Patel, the sleep study technician, the respiratory therapist, the lady from billing, and the office staff were all nice, helpful and pleasant. They took time to explain the results from the sleep study, which was very helpful.”
“The staff is friendly and patient oriented. They seem interested in helping to overcome obstacles when they come up. There is a patient portal and all questions of mine have been answered quickly. The doctor is friendly, attentive, on time, and seems both up to date and knowledgeable in his field. This is, frankly, one of the few places I often contact about which I have no complaints. I’m happy to recommend this facility enthusiastically.”
“I have too much experience with sleep clinics so it’s easy for me to rate the clinic. Dr. Gunn is an excellent sleep doctor. The facility is clean, the rooms are spartan with a comfortable bed which it conducive for sleeping. My tech was Brandon and he was professional and a pleasure to work with. I strongly recommend this sleep clinic.”
“A great doctor. My long-term doctor had retired. I was referred to Dr. Patel. I was exceptionally pleased. He gave me a couple of pointers and even though I was doing well things got better. I will see him annually for sure.”
Treatments and Experience
Quadruple board-certified in Neurology, Clinical Neurophysiology, Headache Medicine, and Epilepsy, Dr. Vajjala’s years of expertise can help you address pain rooted in neurological issues. Dr. Vajjala is one of just circa 750 board-certified headache specialists in the country and even a smaller number of board-certified headache specialists in the country that also completed formal fellowship training in headache and facial pain. Her particular passions include treating epilepsy and migraines in women, autoimmune epilepsy, posttraumatic headaches, and cluster headaches. Some of Dr. Vajjala’s many skills include trigger point injections, nerve block injections, and botulinum toxin injections for headaches, as well as some other indications such as spasticity, cervical dystonia, and blepharospasms.
Associating sleep quality with headaches and seizures is nothing new. Aristotle suggested over 2,000 years ago that seizures and dreams, both viewed as altered states of consciousness, allowed the soul to disassociate from the body and prophesize the future. While that particular theory has long been debunked, it is clear that humans have long been aware of the relationship between seizures, pain, and sleep. Today, we know that sleep impacts the entire body and the quality of sleep is evident in all of our tissues. This means that sleep impairments can have vast and serious effects on neurological, immune, cardiovascular, and metabolic health. This means poor sleep can lead to higher risks of developing various neurological disorders, including epilepsy, stroke, neuromuscular disease, neurodegeneration, and movement disorders. When you improve your sleep, you improve headaches and facial pain while also decreasing risks and occurrences of seizures. It all starts with connecting with sleep professionals who are the leading expert in their field.