Picture this: You made it through your stressful nine-to-five work week and are looking forward to a weekend of relaxing and letting loose, only to have your plans derailed by a painful migraine. If this is something you have experienced, it’s not as uncommon as you may think!
Weekend migraines, also known as “let-down headaches,” usually start on Saturday mornings for nine-to-fivers who have the weekends off. Studies have suggested that the migraines are likely triggered by the drastic change in routine that happens every weekend.
Francisco J Gomez, MD said that keeping to a consistent schedule every day could help manage and prevent headaches from happening.
“During my residency, I was taught to ask patients with ‘intermittent migraine’ to set up a schedule that mimicked their weekday pattern during the weekend in hopes that they would avoid a migraine,” he said. “I now see patients who only get weekend migraines, and I ask them to try this approach.”
On the weekend, most people are likely to sleep in later, which in turn disrupts their normal schedule for food, coffee, water, etc. You are also more likely to stay up late drinking alcohol and get less sleep overall. Anyone of these things could trigger a migraine, but combined they are a recipe for disaster.
Keeping your routine as close to normal as possible can help reduce the chance that you will wake up to a migraine Saturday morning and you’ll feel much better.
Here are some tips from the experts to help avoid those weekend let-down headaches:
Wake up on time
Oversleeping is one of the easiest ways to trigger a migraine. Getting up and starting your day when you normally do will have a chain reaction to keep you on a normal schedule and help avoid that let-down.
Treat coffee like a drug
Caffeine is a drug and if you consume it regularly, your body will experience withdrawals when you don’t have it on time each day. So, if you drink your morning coffee at 7 a.m. on the weekdays, make sure you have it at the same time on Saturday and Sunday.
Lack of hydration is an easy way to trigger a migraine. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water, even if you are just lounging around the house all day. This is especially important if you plan on consuming alcohol over the weekend.
Eat breakfast at a normal time
It’s important to maintain a regular schedule when it comes to eating, even on the weekends. Fasting for too long can cause hypoglycemia and trigger a headache. Don’t wait until 11 a.m. to have brunch on Saturday when you normally eat breakfast at 7 a.m. Make sure you wake up early and get something in your stomach when you normally would.
Avoid binging Netflix all day
Staring at a screen all day can strain your eyes and cause you to get a migraine. As tempting as it is to sit in front of the TV all day, try to take breaks and get outside for a little bit if you can. Staring at screens will only increase your chance of pain.
If you still notice you are experiencing let-down headaches on the weekend after taking these steps, try starting a migraine diary where you journal and take note of your symptoms and triggers. Then, go over these with a doctor to try and determine if there is a bigger issue or alternative options for treatment. Chances are, writing about your triggers will help you make adjustments that are effective in preventing migraines from happening.