1. Make sleep a top priority. Go to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time, even on weekends. Make your bedroom cool and quiet. You need 7–8 hours of good sleep, period.
2. Name your stressors. And limit them. You may not have the same response to work conflict, scary movies and overdue bills as someone else. That’s okay. Make a list of what makes YOU tense.
3. Learn how to manage conflict better. Few of us love conflict. You can either avoid it, or learn how to resolve it. Your brain doesn’t need to keep processing on something that’s already handled. It can rest like it needs to.
4. Consume caffeine very carefully, or not at all. Weaning yourself off caffeine isn’t easy, but can be done over time. Just know that consuming any caffeine 6 hours before bedtime can disrupt your sleep. Delaying morning consumption by even an hour can be a trigger too.
5. Build up a stress defense system. If you feel the need to unwind, you’re stressed out. Life is packed with stress, and migraine sufferers have to build up a better defense against it. Take a walk outside, breathe deeply, talk to a friend, laugh out loud, go out on date, do yoga — whatever calms or transports you to a happy place.
6. Accept what you can’t control. That’s other people, time, weather, and your monthly cycle. Control what you can, and let go of the rest. Menstrual cycles and incoming storms are two major triggers for many that are pretty unavoidable. What you can do is limit exposure to other triggers during these times. Take extra good care of yourself if you know they’re coming.
7. Hydrate More Effectively. You wake up cotton-mouthed because you breathe out moisture all night and process your food and drink into urine. Mild dehydration can bring on a headache even among non-migraine sufferers.
You may have already made some of these lifestyle changes, with or without success. Giving up caffeine and a stressful job you love is really hard. Don’t get discouraged. Consistency is key. Just try one at a time and celebrate your progress! Happy Valentine’s Day!