The Mayo Clinic defines a migraine as a headache of varying intensity, often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound, and reports that the condition impacts some three million Americans per year. Research has shown migraine triggers run the gamut, and include everything from bright lights to elevated stress levels. But thankfully, depending upon the cause, there are steps you can take to avoid or reduce the pain caused by these debilitating headaches.
Read through the list below to learn about the lifestyle and other changes you can make to keep migraines at bay, and when you’re done here, brush up on your overall health knowledge by taking a gander at this roundup of the 30 Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods!
1. Drink More Water
One of the common triggers for a migraine is dehydration. According to a study that appeared in the journal Headache, water deprivation was found to play a role in migraines, particularly in prolonging attacks. So the next time you feel a migraine coming on, pour yourself a tall glass of water and see if that helps alleviate the pain.
2. Curb Your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine has been linked to triggering migraines, and per a study that was published in The Journal of Headache and Pain caffeine cessation might be beneficial for acute migraine treatment.
3. Consider Cutting Back on Alcohol
Alcohol can also trigger or exacerbate a migraine, and a study that appeared in The Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice even found that migraine sufferers consume less alcohol, especially beer and liquors, and are more vulnerable to migraine-like hangover symptoms than nonsufferers. The finding that the tendency to develop migraine attacks affects the hangover symptomatology may suggest a similarity in pathophysiology, and possibly in treatment options.
If you suspect alcohol or caffeine might be triggering your migraines, forgo those beverages and stick to tea or water instead. For inspiration on how to spice up your H2O, check out this list of the 50 Best Detox Waters for Fat Burning and Weight Loss!
4. Keep Your Stress Levels Low
Not surprisingly, stress is another widely reported migraine trigger. In fact, according to a study that appeared in The Journal of Headache and Pain perceived stress is the most common trigger for a migraine.
In that study, researchers confirmed the widely held belief that stress contributes to migraines and actually found that the level of perceived stress was significantly higher in chronic migraine patients than that in controls. Furthermore, among several factors associated with perceived stress, chronic migraines appeared to be a critical one, and significant negative correlations between perceived stress and migraine-specific quality of life was found in this study.
Some ways you can help reduce daily stressors in your life (and possibly make your migraines go away) include practicing breathing exercises, exercising to release endorphins, creating a routine to help avoid inconsistencies that can cause stress in your daily life, and engaging in relaxing activities such as taking a bath, drinking a soothing cup of tea, or consuming more of these 3 Stress-Reducing Foods for Weight Loss.
5. Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep plays a pivotal role in maintaining good overall health, and migraines are no exception. Not getting enough sleep or having poor sleep habits can trigger migraines or cause occasional migraines to become frequent. Per a study conducted by pain researchers from Missouri State University, rats deprived of REM sleep showed changes in the expression of key proteins that suppress and trigger chronic pain, indicating a lack of sleep negatively impacts how we feel and experience pain.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, most grown adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night in order to function at their best. To ensure restful sleep with the power to keep migraines at bay, minimize your pre-bed screen time, and make sure your sleeping environment is set to a comfortable temperature before you doze off. You should also read up on these The 30 Best and Worst Foods To Eat Before Sleep so your nighttime meal doesn’t interfere with your Zzz’s.