Healthy Migraine Lifestyle

Living a healthy migraine lifestyle is all about helping your body be less sensitive and less susceptible to your migraine triggers. This involves staying well hydrated, getting good quality sleep, eating well without skipping meals, managing your stress, and moving regularly. Following are some suggestions to help you optimize a healthy migraine lifestyle.

Hydration is critical since more than 60% of your body is water. Severe dehydration can cause headaches, migraine attacks, constipation, dizziness, and fainting. The rule of thumb is that if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.

  • Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces each day or enough water until your urine is pale

  • Some circumstances require you to drink more – climate, traveling, altitude, exercise, diarrhea, etc.

  • Use a reminder app set to every 15-20 minutes

  • My personal favorite is to drink some water every time I go to the bathroom

  • Keep water in every room; take water with you when running errands

  • Fluids with electrolytes are beneficial

  • Remember that you can get water from food, too, such as lettuce and watermelon

Sleep is vital to our health. It impacts how alert we are, our memory and our concentration. Sleep even affects the brain: it was recently discovered that sleep helps the brain flush out toxins that build up in it during the day.

  • It is important to maintain a healthy and regular sleep schedule - try to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night, listening to your body's needs.

  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule, even on the weekends

  • Sometimes, too much sleep can be a migraine trigger, such as sleeping in or taking naps.

  • Create a gentle nighttime routine: take a break from all screens half to one hour before bedtime, take a bath, read a book, or practice mindfulness

  • Keep your bedroom dark and quiet: use white noise, either a machine or an app or install sound-absorbing material.

  • Keep your bedroom cool – it can help you sleep better

  • Avoid eating too near bedtime to give your stomach a chance to empty; avoid eating sugary food before bedtime as it can cause blood sugar spikes

  • Use a sleep app to help you fall asleep; if you wake in the middle of the night, use it again to help you fall back asleep

Eat wisely. The types of foods we eat and how often we eat can directly affect migraine.

  • Eat 3 meals a day, with healthy snacks in between, to avoid low blood sugar, which can cause headaches

  • Try to be consistent, eating at the same time every day

  • Avoid skipping meals, especially breakfast

  • Pack healthy emergency snacks

  • Eat clean, unprocessed foods

  • Prepare your own meals

  • Avoid foods high in carbohydrates and sugar, which tend to lead to low blood sugar

Regular movement helps to reduce stress and improves sleep and your mood – all particularly important for migraine. Exercise when you feel good, move gently when you don’t but move in some way every day.

  • Pick something you enjoy doing, something that makes you smile

  • Incorporate movement in some way every day

  • Choose a parking space farther away from the door; take the stairs instead of the elevator

  • If you want to start exercising, start gently with yoga or tai chi

  • Walk around the block, enjoying the birds and the bees and the fresh air; slowly increase the distance, so you walk 20-30 minutes each day

Stress can take a toll on your body and mental and emotional health. Stress causes surges in adrenaline and cortisol, which, over time, contributes to medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and digestive and immune disorders.

  • Simplify your life

  • Don’t say yes to everything

  • Manage your workload, and don’t be afraid to delegate

  • Take a break – stretch, take some deep breaths, walk around the block

  • Smile! This releases serotonin and endorphins into your body; endorphins act as a mild pain reliever, and serotonin is an antidepressant

  • Take up a hobby and incorporate it regularly into your life

  • Practice mindfulness – even if only for 10 minutes; listen to a podcast or use an app for guided practice

  • Take up meditation, guided if you would like someone to help you stay on track

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