5 tips for a migraine-free holiday season

5 tips for a migraine-free holiday season

In the midst of the holiday season with so many events to attend, it’s easy to overindulge. It’s not just overeating that can cause problems, but potential migraine triggers also loom large this time of year. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the season though.

The American Migraine Foundation offers some helpful hints to keep your migraines at bay during the holidays.

  • Don’t skip meals. Although foods play a key role in setting off migraines, not having food, by skipping or missing meals, can be an even more common trigger. Remember to eat regularly throughout the day, which means breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Know your triggers. Having triggers, but not knowing what they are can lead to unnecessary migraines. Consider keeping a migraine diary, where you record what you eat and when you get a migraine. This may help determine what foods preceded an attack. Once you’ve identified them, avoid these foods during the holidays when stress is high along with other holiday factors as those may make you more vulnerable to an attack.
  • Be mindful of eating and drinking times. Avoid eating within a few hours of going to bed and do not drink caffeinated beverages after early afternoon.
  • Choose your drinks carefully. If you choose to drink alcohol, make sure to alternate the alcoholic beverage with water and drink in moderation. Alcohol and dehydration can bring on a migraine. Also, for some, red wine is a common migraine trigger so either opt for white wine or another beverage instead.
  • Eat healthy. Get into the habit of eating well. This includes not eating regular meals during the day, limiting the amount of processed foods you eat along with sodium, sugar, and caffeinated and carbonated drinks.

In addition to these tips, Dr. Heather Leeper, a neurologist with Advocate Medical Group in Park Ridge, Ill., reminds those with migraines to not deviate from certain routines.

“I reinforce with patients the importance of adhering to their usual sleeping and eating schedules as much as possible,” she says.

“During the holidays it’s very easy to let your schedule slide to accommodate parties and get-togethers. Not getting enough sleep is a major migraine trigger,” adds Dr. Leeper.

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  1. Great information! I know my triggers–not eating and not getting my caffeine in the morning. I’ve also noticed a decrease in my headaches since I started eating better and losing weight.

  2. I can honestly say I’ve never called my migraines “pesky headaches” …

  3. The holidays are incredibly stressful. Thank you for sharing these great tips.

  4. Making changes to diet and avoiding certain triggers can help keep migraine symptoms in check.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.