Tips for Dealing with Migraine Triggers
What is a migraine trigger?
“A migraine trigger is any change, external stimulus or physical
act which brings upon or results in a migraine”
Although the exact cause of migraines is unknown, researchers believe that they are linked to the imbalances of a chemical in the brain, serotonin. Even though what causes migraines is undetermined, there are several common and known factors which may trigger a migraine. Depending on each individual, a single trigger or several different cumulative triggers may result in a migraine.
What triggers migraines?
Migraine triggers vary from behavioural triggers, environmental triggers, certain foods and even hormonal changes.
According to Migraine Buddy users, stress, lack of sleep and dehydration are among the top 5 most commonly recorded migraine triggers.
Here are some tips for managing these triggers:
Dehydration is commonly overlooked as a migraine trigger. For some, even mild dehydration can bring about a terrible migraine. A simple but good tip would be to always carry a water bottle with you at all times and constantly remind yourself to stay hydrated!
Did you know? According to Migraine Buddy users, 68% of those who recorded ‘drinking water’ as relief method have found it helpful. (For comparison, 66% of Migraine Buddy users who recorded ‘caffeine’ as a relief method and similarly 66% who recorded ‘hot shower’ as a relief method have found it helpful.)
Stress and Anxiety
Stress is one of the many possible behavioural triggers, generally linked to a person’s lifestyle. Migraine and stress are strongly related and people generally find that with high levels of tension, anxiety and shock that their migraine attack starts. However, something known as “weekend headaches” exists too. This is when an individual experiences a migraine after the stressful period.
It could be a good habit to regularly list and understand the things in your life which bring you the most stress. Thereafter, working towards reducing these triggers will become an easier process. Sometimes, something as simple as talking to someone to share your problems would suffice. Other good methods to help cope with stress includes meditation, relaxation therapy and yoga.
Lack of Sleep
Both too much or too little sleep can trigger a migraine too. Having a proper sleep schedule with sufficient sleep each day is a good practice in order to have a good control over your migraine attacks.
It is advisable to aim to get more than 6 hours of sleep each day. If you’re unsure of your optimal sleeping hours, tracking your sleep could be a good way to start. (Did you know Migraine Buddy has an ‘Automatic Sleep Detection’ function? To turn it on, tap the three lines on the top left of Migraine Buddy’s main screen to get to ‘Settings’ and scroll down until you see ‘Sleep Settings’!)
Besides having a better control over your attacks, the list of benefits of getting sufficient sleep does not end here, from lowering stress levels, curbing inflammation and even to improving your memory, the list is endless.
Establishing a daily routine with regular sleep patterns and meals and learning to cope with your stress could be the first steps to taking control of your migraines today.
Read here for greater details on the different types of migraine triggers!