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January 13, 1984

Prevention of Turtle Headache

Author Affiliations

Washington, DC

JAMA. 1984;251(2):216. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340260024011

To the Editor.—  The role of cooling the head in causing a person to burrow beneath the covers at night, with ensuing hypoxia and turtle headache on waking, merits the comments of Jean Bonner.1 I agree that light (glare) is not the only reason for turtling.2 Maintenance of body warmth certainly needs emphasis in relation to the prevention of such muscle contraction, or mixed migraine-muscle contraction headaches. Use of a nightcap was suggested as a therapeutic measure.However, protecting only the head from chilling is probably not adequate. If the legs are cold, the muscles all over the body contract to generate heat. The skeletal musculature is the furnace of the body. If a person is extremely chilled, shivering cannot be stopped. I recommend an electric blanket at night, set at the temperature that the person prefers. Even in the hot summer months, an electric blanket is frequently