avoid a migraine this christmas

10 Tips To Avoid A Migraine This Christmas

If you are prone to migraine headaches then Christmas can be a difficult time. I often get a migraine over this period and if I do, it can least for the whole Christmas week. Try and remember these easy tips and you may well be able to avoid suffering this year.

 

1. Drink a pint of water on waking – dehydration is a big trigger for migraines in everyone who is susceptible. When you’re busy on Christmas Day it can be difficult to remember to drink enough water. Drinking a pint of water on waking will allow you to start the day as you mean to go on.

 

2. Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids during the day – make a mental note to drink plenty of fluids throughout the entire day. This could be sparkling water, diluted fruit juices, decaf tea & coffee or plain tap water.

Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids throughout the day
Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids throughout the day

3. Limit alcoholic drinks – alcohol promotes dehydration and can also be a trigger in its own right. Try to space out your alcoholic drinks by drinking non-alcoholic drinks in between each alcoholic glass. Red and white wine are the most frequently reported trigger drinks so avoid these if you know that they are likely to give you a headache. Be wary of flavoured ciders and alcopops as they often contain artificial sweeteners which can trigger migraines in some people.

 

4. Set Christmas lights to static mode – many migraine sufferers are sensitive to flashing or bright lights. If you are hosting Christmas then set your lights to static, or ask your hosts to do this for you.

Set your Christmas lights to static mode or ask your hosts to do this for you
Set your Christmas lights to static mode or ask your hosts to do this for you

5. Try not to binge on sugary snacks – peaks and troughs in your blood sugar levels can trigger migraines. Although it is tempting at Christmas, try not to gorge on chocolates, sweets and other high sugar food items.

 

6. Eat regular protein and carb snacks – try and stick to low glycaemic index foods. This will also help to avoid fluctuations in your blood sugar levels. Nuts, apples, grapes, oranges, hummus, wholewheat bread and porridge are all examples of low GI foods.

 

7. Remove artificial scents and house sprays – I love mulled wine scented plug ins and candles over the festive period, but I’ve learnt to my cost that these can trigger a migraine, especially if I am already in that fuzzy headed period during which I know I am most susceptible. Natural scents are much safer and more pleasant all round. Cinnamon sticks, pomanders and the smell of roasting turkey is much safer if you are prone to headaches.

 

8. Don’t drink more caffeine than usual – it can be easy to veer from your routine over the Christmas period, and this disruption to routine can be enough to trigger a migraine. I often find that I drink more tea and coffee when we have guests around. Make sure you stock up on decaf and take decaf options with you if you are going to someone else’s house.

 

coffee caffeine
Try to drink the same amount of caffeine that you would on a normal day

9. Read your labels – Christmas is a time when you may well eat food and drinks that you wouldn’t normally. If you can, try to read the labels on any suspect items. The unknowing ingestion of sweeteners, artificial preservatives and/or other triggers can catch you out more easily over the holidays.

 

10. Don’t ignore your instincts – most importantly, listen to your body. If you wake up feeling ‘migrainey’ (not a real word but the one I use to describe the feeling of waking up with slight cramping of the temples and sensitivity to light), then be sensible during the day. Don’t through caution to the wind, take your tablets and wash them down with a glass or two of Bucks Fizz and a handful of Quality Street. I say this from personal experience, the resulting week long headache was not worth it at all! I don’t even like Bucks Fizz!

 

Enjoy your Christmas, but remember to treat yourself and your body with respect. You’ll be glad of it when all of the festivities are over and normal life resumes!

 

Published by Sonia Nicholas

Related articles:

Blog – Taking Control of Migraine Headaches

Article – Migraine Triggers: The Truth of The (Brain) Matter

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