Hart dreamed he had a visual migraine aura and woke up with a migraine. My guess is it wasn’t just a dream, but he was seeing the aura while asleep. Since an aura originates in the brain, not in the eyes, this seems logical to me, but I can only find one article about it. Based on two case studies, the authors say that geometric patterns from visual auras can be incorporated into dreams. I assume that dreaming you have an aura is a literal, direct incorporation into the dream, rather than the more abstract idea the article mentioned.
I’m really curious about this and can’t test it out on myself (since I have, fortunately, not had an aura outside of that terrible weekend). I have vivid dreams and nightmares during migraine attacks, but don’t think they usually precede attacks, and I don’t have a visual aura at all. So I’m crowdsourcing. Do you have auras in your sleep, either like the typical visual auras you get when awake or bad dreams?
Do you ever feel like you can predict a migraine is coming on because you just feel “off”? You’re not crazy. This is the first phase of a migraine attack, called prodrome, which occurs before the pain — and often visual aura — set in. It can start a day or two before a headache or visual aura.
The long, long list of possible prodrome symptoms:
Visual (aka aura)
- a bright shape that spreads across the visual field of one eye
and appears to block some or all of the vision; can be seen whether the
eye is open or closed
- flashes of light and color
- wavy lines
- geometric patterns
- blurred vision
- partial loss of sight
- numbness or tingling on the face or upper extremities
- a sense that limbs are a distorted shape or size
- smelling odors that aren’t actually present (like natural gas or something burning)
- partial paralysis
- weakness or heaviness in the limbs on one side of the body
- difficulty finding words
- problems understanding spoken or written language
- mental confusion
- transient global amnesia (similar to amnesia that follows a concussion)
- food cravings (particularly for carbohydrates, candy and chocolate)
- stomach rumblings
- increased thirst
- bloating/fluid retention
- frequent urination
- mood changes
- high energy
These are only part of little-known migraine symptoms. The Many Symptoms of Migraine describes symptom in the active migraine phase and the letdown, or postdrome.
Migraine: The Complete Guide is the source of these lists. It is my very favorite headache book, but is outrageously outdated. Perhaps if we mention it enough, the American Headache Society will consider updating the 14-year-old book.