Headaches are all too common and can be an incredible nuisance when they prevent you from doing the things you love. While some are more prone to getting headaches and migraines than others, here are a few of the known and common triggers people have attributed to their headaches.
Everyone deals with stress, but when it gets overwhelming, you may be subjected to a headache. According to Harvard Health, “Stress can cause tight muscles in the shoulders and neck. This often leads to a tension headache, which starts in the neck and back and works its way up to feel like a tight band around your head.”
While there have been many studies, there aren’t any clear indications as to whether alcohol intake can cause bad headaches. However, many people experience bad headaches when they drink a certain amount of alcohol. Harvard Health says, “For some people, a few ounces of red wine are all it takes to provoke a headache, although any kind of alcohol can be a trigger.”
Irregular Sleep Schedule
Didn’t get enough sleep last night? That could be a cause for your headache. According to the American Migraine Foundation, “Sleep renews and repairs all parts of the body—including the brain—so it makes sense that when your sleep schedule becomes irregular, you are more prone to migraine attacks.” The AMF recommends getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night and sleeping at the same time every night.
Your diet may be a big cause of your headaches and migraines. The most common, according to the Migraine Foundation, being foods that contain histamine and MSG, chocolate, cheese, and other dairy products, artificial sweeteners (e.g. aspartame), caffeine, cured meats, and anything with a strong smell.
The solution? Try to avoid them as much as possible. If you know that a certain food triggers your migraines and headaches, cut it out of your diet, and see if that relieves your headaches.
While you may not think that natural light could be on the list, light is actually a common cause for migraine sufferers. The condition is called Photophobia. According to the Migraine Foundation, “Both natural, bright light and fluorescent or flickering bulbs are problematic, making it difficult to spend time outside or be in an office environment.”
The Foundation recommends wearing sunglasses and avoiding flickering light indoors for those who have photophobia.
Unfortunately, women suffer from migraines and headaches more than men and one of the reasons might be the constant change in hormones. Up to 75% of women find that they experience attacks around the time of their menstrual period, according to the American Migraine Foundation. Harvard Health writes, “Varying estrogen levels during perimenopause can sometimes start migraines in women who never experienced them before.”
Is your environment too bright? Too loud? Is there something in the air? Mayo Clinic says “Bright lights and sun glare can induce migraines, as can loud sounds. Strong smells — including perfume, paint thinner, secondhand smoke and others — trigger migraines in some people.” Although we can’t control our environment, being mindful of what is around you may help you to avoid a migraine attack altogether.
Not having enough water is known to be a common cause for having those irritating headaches. The American Migraine Foundation notes that “even the slightest hint of dehydration can be the fast track to debilitating head pain.” AMF recommends always carrying a water bottle with you and keeping track of your fluid intake throughout the day. WebMD proposes everyone “should try to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day.” This means that if you weight 150 pounds, you should drink about 75 to 150 ounces of water a day.