If you’re a regular sufferer of headaches, you know your triggers better than anyone – it could be a number of single things, or a combination of things, but you can usually figure out how to avoid those things whenever possible. If your trigger – for migraines or other headaches – is cold, however, it can be harder to avoid headaches during the winter months. Here are some simple tips for avoiding headaches when the winter cold is simply unavoidable.
Getting enough sleep at night is critical to helping prevent the kind of stress that brings on all kinds of maladies, including headaches. The winter can make it harder to sync your brain up to getting a normal amount of quality sleep each night, so you may have to actively plan out your sleep schedule. Because of the decreased sunlight, many people can find themselves thrown off during the winter and subject to more migraines.
Avoid Certain Foods
Obviously, avoid any trigger foods, even during winter months. If your migraines get triggered by chocolate or caffeine, considering walking around with a thermos full of hot herbal tea, instead. There have also been some recent studies that suggest MSG (which can be found in hot soups and salt) may trigger migraines, though the results are inconclusive. If you’re not sure of the foods to avoid for your specific type of headaches, you can consult with a medical professional who understands and deals with migraines.
Eat Square Meals
You should continue your best eating habits during the winter, too, and make sure that you are eating regularly, and often. Skipping meals, for instance, can trigger many kinds of headaches, in some cases due to a drop in blood sugar. Snacking healthily throughout the day can also help reduce your chance of headaches. You should also remain hydrated throughout the day to reduce the likelihood of headaches, as we often get dehydrated easier in the cold than in the heat. Drink regularly, not just when you’re thirsty.
Exercise is a great way to help stave off headaches, as well as depression, which is common in colder months. There have been studies showing a positive link between exercise and migraine relief. You don’t have to just go to the gym, and you don’t have to leave the house if the cold makes it impossible. You can exercise indoors – it could be as simple as yoga or jumping jacks, or find an exercise video online to following along to, to stay motivated.
Yes, this is common sense, but some people are not the best at dressing themselves for the cold months. Being cold can be a stressor on most bodies, which can mean a migraine trigger for some people. Wear plenty of layers and make sure what you’re wearing doesn’t just look warm, but is functionally going to keep you warm. You may also need some pocket warmers or, if you’re looking for something a little more powerful, you might want to try heated gloves.