Migraine Triggers and how to avoid them

An intense throbbing pain on one specific part of your head, a Migraine comes with nausea and vomiting and can happen very abruptly, without warning.  While the exact cause of a Migraine is still not completely understood, doctors and healthcare experts have managed to narrow down a list of triggers to avoid, in order to reduce your chances of encountering a painful migraine.


There is a significant correlation between stress and migraines, where constant worries and anxiety can stimulate painful migraine attacks.

What to do: Make a list of all the factors that cause tension and stress in your life, go through the list and find solutions to reduce or omit these elements. Include relaxing activities such as yoga, meditation or even a rejuvenating massage to help manage your stress.

Disturbed Sleep

Our body renews and restores while we sleep, therefore inadequate or disturbed sleep can make you more prone to migraines.

What to do: Get a restful night of sleeping by  putting away your laptop and phone at least two hours prior to bedtime. Starting a sleep routine by going to bed at the same time every night is also a great way to ensure that you get at least 7 hours of snooze time.  Be sure to avoid over sleeping as this can also lead to headaches!

Food and Additives

Preservatives and sweeteners such as MSG(Monosodium Glutamate) and Aspartame can trigger migraines and are found in an array of food and drinks that we consume on a daily basis.

What to do: Be mindful of what you are consuming. Always be sure to read the fine print in your food packaging or to ask your waiter about the ingredients in the food you are consuming when eating at a restaurant. Being informed and alert can help you avoid migraine triggering food and beverages such as Cheese, Chocolate, Coffee, MSG, additives and processed food.

Loud noises and bright lights

Extremely loud sounds and flashing lights such as strobe lights, fluorescent lights, flashing lights etc. can cause migraines.

What to do: While these lights may be hard to avoid as they are commonly found in a lot of social settings, try your best to minimize your visits to places such as clubs and movie theatres to contain your migraines.

Computer screen

Since computers are used by most of us on a regular basis, the best way to reduce your chances of triggering a migraine is to give your eyes a rest.

What to do: Be sure to take frequent breaks while working on your laptop, computer or while watching TV. Adjusting the brightness levels on your digital screens to accommodate your eyes will also help avoid migraines.

Changes in weather

Extreme weather changes including high humidity and heat can stimulate headaches and bad migraines.

What to do: Since it’s not possible to control the weather, we can take precautions such as running errands when it’s not too warm, being indoors when it’s humid, drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, planning trips to cooler climate locations etc.  


Aversions to odors also known as Osmophobia can result in bad migraines or worsen an existing one because smells and odors sometimes activate nerve receptors in the nasal luggage causing immense pressure and pain to your head.

What to do: Avoid strong perfumes, chemicals and types of gasoline.


Not drinking enough water is one of the main triggers for migraines.

What to do: Avoid dehydration by consuming at least 2 liters of water daily. Carry a bottle of water with you to stay hydrated all day long.

Caffeine and Alcohol

Consuming coffee and alcohol is a very well-known migraine simulator.

What to do:  Limit your alcohol and coffee consumption. Try to figure out which types of alcohol triggers your migraines and try your best to avoid them or find substitutes.

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