5 Ordinary Things That Are Dangerous For Migraine Sufferers
Migraine sufferers have to live by a different set of rules. And it’s a godsend when people understand them.
After years of being a migraine sufferer, I often felt it unfair that people get to treat their bodies like crap and seem to get away with it, while I had to follow ten thousand rules and only make a small mistake (like not drinking for 2hours) and boom, a day lost to incredible pain.
It turns out that it’s not helpful to dwell on feelings that life is unfair to us; however, it is great to know what activities, that are perfectly safe for our peers are detrimental for us.
And it is incredibly amazing when people who are close to a migraine sifferer know and respect these.
So following is the list of surprising migraine triggers.
Napping Or Interrupted Sleep
I knew for a long time that when I took a nap, I had like a 80% chance of developing a migraine later that day. But fairly recently, I discovered that interrupted sleep works the same way. So if I wake up early in the morning, go to the toilet, and continue to sleep — boom, migraine.
I am someone who drinks a lot of water so a lot of times I wake up really early in the morning, go to toilet and then want to sleep for at least another hour or two. Unfortunately, this is a big no-no for me. I have stopped drinking water for as long as I can in the evening to prevent me from waking up too early.
Percentage-wise it is better for me only to sleep 5–6 hours than to sleep another 2 hours after waking up. This way, I get the migraine with much lesser probability. But of course, it is not a great way to start the day, and it sucks for multiple reasons. So I try not to be in this position in the first place.
Having Food And Drinks That Raise Blood Sugar Quickly
I have known for a while that I need to avoid sweets if I’m experiencing early migraine signs. But later on, I discovered that spikes in blood sugar are a definite trigger for me.
The first meal of the day is when we’re most exposed to blood sugar spikes, so it has become crucial to me not to eat anything sweet in the morning, not even a piece of fruit.
Later in the day, after I’ve had my first meal, I can do with fruit pretty well, even some chocolate. And if I’m really in good shape, I can do a dessert quite safely.
However, anything like fruit juice, Coke, or a super sweet smoothie is never safe for me. (There is a huge difference in the blood sugar spike depending on whether you eat a piece of fruit as a whole or blend or juice it. Glucose from the juice or smoothie gets into the bloodstream much faster.)
This is something I wish became more of common knowledge. Smell is a powerful migraine trigger for me, yet I have very little control over it in any outside setting.
I have to avoid walking through the washing-powder section in supermarkets and even walking past the entrance to a perfume store in the mall.
My personal hell is meeting a new person that I don’t want to seem too weird around (just yet), and they show up wearing perfume or cologne. It is such a socially difficult situation — “Hey, thanks for meeting me! By the way, your smell could give me a migraine. Could you go to the bathroom and change your clothes and shower?” I mean, there’s not much they can do if they meet you outside — it’s all over their clothes anyway. So I usually try to get as much fresh air between us as possible, drink a lot of water, and follow my migraine protocols (that I summed up here).
Another nightmarish scenario is to be on a long bus ride or a flight with someone wearing perfume. My migraine is triggered by even the first breath I take in with this smell, but being close to it for an hour is just a sort of torture, especially if the place is not well ventilated either.
Oh, and don’t get me started on those over-perfumed public toilets at the mall.
If you have a friend, colleague, or family member who suffers from migraines, try and avoid wearing or gifting anything that has a powerful odor (deodorants, fabric softener, bath bombs, perfume, cologne, incense, perfumed candles, and so on).
Bright And Flickering Lights
I’m mostly doing fine with any artificial lighting, but when the attack begins, I will use any way to dim the lights, like wearing sunglasses indoors and a blue light filter.
Try and be kind to any indoor sunglasses wearers, they might not be all about swag.
But looking directly into a very bright light source (laser pointer, strong flashlight) will trigger a migraine for me.
Not Hydrating Properly
I used to be annoyed about how most of the fellow students at my university could eat junk food all day, drink Coke and alcohol all night and then get 3 hours of sleep and be just fine the next day, while all it took for me to vomit from a migraine attack was not to always carry a bottle of water with me. But, well, it is what it is.
Going long hours without water is a sure-way ticket to hell. And I do mean water — not soda, which some people consider a part of their 2 liters a day.
It comes with a great bonus, too — I need to go to the toilet about a gazzilion times a day. So I sometimes, especially if I already feel like migraine is trying to make it, I will avoid activities where drinking a lot and being around the bathroom is not an option. I can’t tell you how many times I felt guilty about constantly disturbing people on a trip with trying to find toilets.
Thank you for reading! ❤
If you are a migraine sufferer, I wish you the very best; I know you can beat them in no time. If you know someone who has migraines, I want to thank you for being a great support; we need that so much!