Thank God It’s Friday. Bring on the lie-ins, lazy pyjama days, and TV show binges whilst slouching around on the sofa. The weekend marks the end of the routine of the past five days, offering the chance for some long-awaited relaxation. These two days of freedom and excitement may not always, however, be fun and games. In fact, the release the weekend brings has been frequently associated with the onset of headaches. But why do the weekend and migraine have such a troublesome relationship?
The details on weekend migraine
The headaches you may well suffer from as Saturday arrives are related to a phenomenon often known as ‘weekend migraine’. In short, many believe that weekend migraine attacks are triggered by a change in routine. Whilst from Monday-Friday you are consistently travelling from the house and completing a regular number of hours at work or at school, the weekend brings with it different patterns.
You may choose to go to bed later to catch up on that series you’ve been desperate to get stuck into, and then get up at a later time to catch up on any lost rest. This disrupts your sleep schedule. You may choose to have a treat meal, indulging in a take-away followed by luxurious desserts and sweets (I don’t blame you!). This disrupts your blood sugar levels. You may pop to a café and have a fancy latte at 2pm rather than your usual cappuccino at 8am. This results in different levels of caffeine in your body at unusual points of the day.
Each of these changes to your routine is a potential trigger of a migraine attack. And to make matters worse, they are all happening at the same time. The result? A
Who is likely to get weekend migraine?
Migraine doesn’t discriminate. Attacks can happen to anyone with the condition and at any given time. That being said, some individuals may be more susceptible than others to weekend migraine. Of course, the relief the weekend brings from the stress of a 9-5 working week may suggest that these particular types of headaches are mostly felt by those of working age. And whilst their weekly routines certainly put them at risk, these is another age group who may find themselves particularly likely to experience weekend migraine. Children.
Besides sudden stress relief, the weekend also brings with it instances of positive stress. Positive stress includes strong emotions like excitement – something children are highly likely to feel after finishing a week at school. As well as having a little break from story-writing and sum-solving, children are also likely to participate in fun events at the weekend. They might be going to a party or on a trip. All of these changes to routine may, however, trigger a migraine attack – enough to put a damper on a weekend of fun.
How can I prevent weekend migraine?
Weekends are inevitable. You can’t escape them – nor, I assume, do you want to! But that doesn’t mean that weekend migraine has to become an unavoidable part of weekly life. There are many steps you can take to help prevent the onset of a headache. These include:
- Stick to your sleep schedule – It may be tempting it hit that snooze button, but simply keeping to your usual bedtime routine can make a huge difference in preventing the onset of an attack.
- Monitor your caffeine intake – Caffeine is a drug, and you should therefore not consume it likely. It is very easy to track when you are drinking coffee or other caffeinated drinks, so make sure any espressos are not enjoyed too late in the day.
- Keep your diet consistent – If you have a lie-in, you may decide to skip breakfast. But avoiding meals can seriously mess with your blood sugar levels. Always try to eat at consistent times. And whilst it is perfectly fine to switch up your food and treat yourself a little, be careful not to go overboard.
The weekend is usually a time for change. A change from the routine of Monday to Friday. You may, therefore, be reluctant to make Saturday and Sunday indistinguishable from the rest of the week. Avoiding weekend migraine does not, however, involve zapping all the fun out of the weekend. Reducing the number of changes you make when Saturday arrives can make a huge difference to the levels of pain you experience – and may make your weekends even more enjoyable!