If you are having trouble curing headaches, you are not alone. The World Health Organization estimates that 1 in 20 adults complain of a headache every day. In addition to that, 1 in every 7 adults suffers from frequent migraines. Headaches and migraines can be painful and debilitating, and when they negatively impact your life, it's time to get serious about finding a solution to relieving the headaches and preventing them. There are a number of prevention methods, from quitting smoking and drinking less alcohol to cutting down on electronic time or wearing blue blockers when using them. To prevent headaches from occurring, you need to plan ahead.
Keep A Headache Diary
To effectively prevent headaches, you need to be aware of the things you do that may be bringing the headaches on. There are a lot of things that cause headaches, such as:
- Drinking alcohol
- Too much or not enough sleep
- Drastic difference in caffeine
- Food additives
When you start your headache diary, pay attention to those things so you can make a note of them. If you can figure out what happens before, during, and after your headache, you can pinpoint those specific things to try and prevent headaches in the future.
There are a few things that are important to record in your headache diary every day:
- Everything you eat and drink
- Any medicine you take, whether prescription or over-the-counter
- What time you wake up and fall asleep
- Exercise and physical activity
In addition to the above, you'll want to ensure you record each headache and the following:
- Time and duration
- Any hormonal differences
- What the weather was like
- What you did to relieve it
By finding patterns, you will be able to identify which common trigger applies to you. Preventing your headaches depends on your triggers. Below are some of the most common ways to avoid triggering headaches.
Everyone knows that sleep is absolutely vital to survive. When you are either having trouble sleeping, not sleeping, or oversleeping, you are setting yourself up for a lot of problems, with headaches being a major part. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule. If your headache diary uncovers that you mainly get headaches on weekdays when you have to wake up early, or on weekends when you are up too late, make adjustments to fix those. Start getting to bed earlier. You could also try wearing blue light blocking glasses before bed. By blocking certain light frequencies that can keep us awake, these glasses may help you fall asleep faster.
Sometimes, the timing of your sleep isn’t the problem, and it’s more about how you sleep. Make sure you are sleeping on a comfortable pillow. It may help to invest in a high-quality pillow that relieves pressure points and has the firmness or softness you prefer. Don't be afraid to test different pillows to find the right ones. When traveling, always try to take your home pillow because our bodies are often stubborn and want the pillows they know.
Sometimes, simple lifestyle changes are all it takes to start preventing your headaches. For example, if you find yourself sitting in front of a computer or at a desk all day, are you paying attention to your posture? Make sure your neck isn't stiff and you are sitting up straight with your shoulders relaxed. Wear blue light blocking glasses and take frequent breaks from the computer to help reduce eye strain, sleep problems, and headaches.
If you are a drinker or smoker, consider cutting down or quitting these habits altogether. Drinking alcohol causes dehydration, which is a common source of headaches. Some people also find that red wine in particular can worsen their day-after headache. Smoking can cause head pain because the nicotine narrows the blood vessels in your brain. When you quit, headaches may worsen temporarily as the body adjusts, but cutting down and ultimately eliminating smoking can significantly reduce your headaches in the long term.
When you notice a pattern of headaches that correlate with what you eat (or don’t), it might be time to make some changes. If you are eating a lot of food that contains additives, certain ones like MSG, the nitrates in processed meat, tyramine, and aspartame can all contribute to headaches. If you are going long periods of time without a meal or snack, try making it a point to eat more frequently. Whether it is doing 5 small meals, or taking along meal bars with you, it's important to stay fueled.
In addition to what you eat, the caffeine you drink may be a major dietary headache trigger. When your body becomes used to caffeine, whether from coffee, soda, or an energy drink, missing one day or even a few hours can give you a major caffeine headache. It may be healthiest to cut out coffee completely, but if your biggest concern is preventing headaches, you should be able to keep them at bay simply by staying in your caffeine-consumption routine.
If the above suggestions don’t help in preventing headaches, be sure to see your doctor for a medical solution to your problems. If you suspect your problems may stem from eye strain or a lack of sleep, try a pair of blue light blockers from Dr. S Eyewear. They’re a convenient, affordable way to protect your eyes against up to 99% of blue light. So they’re good for your eyes no matter what, and they may be good for your headaches, too.