The holiday season is already hard upon us. For some it is a time for celebration-parties, eating and drinking, enjoying time with family, and all too often, stress, a recognized migraine trigger. Remember, there exists both good stress and bad stress, but in the end it is all stress. For the migraineur this stress can be a prescription for a painful debacle instead of holiday cheer. What can we do to navigate this minefield of stress-laden migraine triggers, and hopefully enjoy the season? Following are three tried and true suggestions that may help you avoid migraines and better enjoy this special time of year.
"Sleep in Heavenly Peace"
First, insure you get enough restful sleep. It's bad enough that children stay awake listening for sleigh bells. For many migraineurs changes in sleep patterns induced by holiday travel or vacation can be a significant migraine trigger. Preserving a steady, established sleep schedule will reduce the chance of a migraine attack. This will also be helpful for Fibromyalgia sufferers. Sleeping in, or later than normal, has also been associated with migraines. Enjoy yourself, but really try to keep to your regular sleep schedule.
"Eat, Drink, and be Merry (and Migraine Free)"
Much of the time-honored holiday fare may also contain hidden triggers for migraine. Traditional holiday ham, for example, may contain nitrates, which are a proven headache trigger for many migraineurs. Also keep an eye out for Tyramine, found in many fine aged cheeses, various meats, and nuts, among other foods. Naturally watch the alcohol intake, especially the colored beverages like red wine, cognac, and the whiskey family. Coffee too!
"Santa Claus has the Right Idea-Visit People Once a Year"
For most of us, simply the saying "the holidays are coming" is more than enough to induce painfully high symptoms of stress, including migraines . Shopping, cooking, entertaining, planning, all jammed into about two pressure packed weeks. As a result, because stress is a common migraine trigger, it's helpful to try and minimize stress as much as you can. You cannot eliminate it all, nor would you want to. Strategize a bit. Preparation can be key so don't put off shopping for gifts till Christmas Eve. Cook or bake ahead of time whenever possible. Make time for yourself. Enjoy the season through quiet reflection and contemplation whenever and wherever possible.
So here is AMD's holiday gift to you. We hope there is some useful information that you can use in our advice above. Also, please follow our Twitter feed for the latest migraine information, now and year 'round.