1. Maintain Sleep Schedule
The migraine brain is one who hates change…
And for good reason.
When our brains are compromised, our body is full of inflammation, our hormones are shot and our immune system is not functioning properly…
Adapting to constantly changing circumstances is too much.
It’s basic bathtub theory.
The bathtub is already full of food intolerances, gut dysbiosis, inflammation and blood sugar handling issues.
Adding another strain like changing our circadian rhythms(our sleep/wake cycles) adds a extra bit of stress we just can’t handle.
The bathtub overflows and we trigger.
The problem with weekend headaches is that we have a regular sleep pattern all week(usually) then friday comes along and we go to sleep way passed our circadian set sleep time.
This makes us miss our physical repair time (10pm-2am) and we usually end up eating more poor food, spiking our stress hormones like cortisol late into the night and then end up sleeping in on saturday.
When we sleep in we go passed our programmed waking time and further upset our circadian rhythm which controls our entire body/nature balance and helps us regulate all our biological oscillators like heart rate, breathing rate, brain frequencies and peristalsis rate.
This is huge for trigger and does not give us more rest and repair like we think.
When the sun comes up, our cortisol goes up, whether we are sleeping or not.
But we get to decide if we are in tune with it or adding more stress to the tub.
2. Create more stress free time than just the weekend
We are all often to blame on this one, it’s part of our culture, but not a necessary evil.
We often add everything on during the week, doing the entire to do list in one giant spurt of stress.
But in doing this we ignore our body’s signals, miss meals, miss hydration, miss quiet time, miss any communication about bodily needs and often run our day right into the night.
Even if we fall asleep (which usually ends up being more like passing out) we usually take our to do list with us into sleep and our mind doesn’t actually fall asleep properly. This is one of the huge reasons for the over medicating of sleep meds.
So instead of taking our regular stress of a 9-5 job, we turn it into a 7am-10pm grind, 5 days a week, followed by a 2 day migraine attack and repeat.
Instead, break it all up, prioritize the most important to-do’s, create outlines and shortcuts, plan ahead, add some to do’s to the weekend and make sure you prioritize feeding yourself brain nutrients and “meditating” to break up all the fog and stress of the week.
It’s not a crime to take stress free breaks, often.
3. Eat the same foods at the same times
Our body has to prepare for food, this is why grazing often does not do well.
We go through what is called the cephalic phase of digestion.
Cephalic just means head.
The moment we start thinking of food, preparing food, cooking food, cutting food and eating food…
Our body starts to prepare its digestive juices.
Our mouth starts to salivate, our saliva is full of enzymes that break down food.
Our stomach starts to drop its pH and get extremely acidic so that it can kill any bacteria and break down food particles.
Our gallbladder starts to swell up with bile so that it can neutralize the stomach acid and dump a bunch of enzymes to further digest all our proteins, fats and carbohydrates and make them easily absorbable by our gut bacteria and intestinal villi(like a little carpet that soaks up nutrients into your body).
So when our body can plan for our meals, it digests, absorbs, assimilates and eliminates them way better.
If you go from texting on your phone in a drive thru, to eating while you watch a show…
There is no time or focus spent on the delicious flavours of the food and the cephalic phase is skipped.
Plus we don’t end up chewing our food and you know the rule:
“Drink your food and chew your water”
Because mastication is massively important in digestion and absorbing both food and drink.
But it’s also important to do them at the same time.
When we wake up, our body is primed for a meal.
It’s primed from the fast that is our sleep and it’s ready to break-fast.
But we often get many problems from eating late.
Our body’s are usually not to keen to it, even if we are used to it.
When we eat late, we usually eat cheaper, poorer and more convenience foods.
We end up spiking our blood sugar very close to bed and cause blood sugar issues while we sleep which destroys sleep quality.
And our digestion is weakest at night as it is preparing to run our detoxification and repair processes it needs at night.
Remember, our brain literally shrinks at night so that it can detoxify the days damage.
We need to support this process or we cannot have brain health.
Instead, listen to your body and find the times of day when it is ready and asking for meals…
Not your head but your stomach.
We can often confuse the two.
4. Spread out the list
Spread it out, slow, steady and consistent improvement is all we need to have all the health, wealth and happiness we want in life.
Don’t do it all during the week and end up crashing during the weekend(or you’ll trigger).
And don’t procrastinate in un-effective ways and leave it all for the weekend where you don’t actually end up getting relaxation time.(or you’ll trigger)
Just a little bit every day, and pepper it throughout, remember that everything in our life goes in cycles.
So we have cycles of high stress and lots of focus and we have cycles of low stress and relaxation, rest and digestion.
When we can learn to listen to these cycles, nurture each part of them so we can maximize both our focus and our rest, we can actually get far more done, with far less stress.
Smart stress and smart rest create brain health success.
5. Kill the stress before bed on friday
When in doubt, kill the stress before it can start a weekend headache.
Plan the weekend out, make a list of all your to-do’s so you can forget about them while you sleep.
Eat a super healthy and blood sugar stabilizing meal with healthy veggies and nutritious meats before bed so that you give your body logs not kindling to maintain the fire throughout the night.
Go into a specific de-stressing mode before bed.
Self massage or roll your body out with a ball or foam roller to release tension held in the body.
Take an epsom salt bath with essential oils to feed yourself muscles relaxing and brain healing magnesium.
Use a mindfulness meditation to bring objectivity to everything going on around you.
It’s important to remember we hold tension from our mental, emotional and physical areas in all of the mental, emotional and physical areas.
Often times emotional stress can end up in our shoulders , tighten our neck and trigger a headache. Or physical tension can create emotional upsets and put us over the edge triggering a headache.
When we can specifically take time to address mental, emotional and physical tension, we can prevent the bathtub from overflowing.
6. Avoid alcohol and replace weekend junk
With the onset of the weekend comes our rebellious side.
This comes from our childhood experiences where the weekend was a free for all and we could do whatever we wanted compared to the week where we were under a strict schedule.
It’s important to remember we carry our inner child within us until the day we die.
And this child gets rebellious if we don’t give him the attention he needs.
So depriving the child all week doesn’t do well if we want to avoid reaching for the alcohol or junk.
Our will power over our inner characters is only so strong.
Instead we need to learn to live in harmony and symbiosis with them.
Healthy alternatives and boundaries can help us satisfy all of our inner needs and prevent us from making poor late night decisions when our character is too weak to control all the unconscious behaviours with sheer will.
But this comes down to us and our knowledge on cooking and nutrition.
Keep it healthy and keep it simple.
When we have healthy tasty options ready and keep the unhealthy ones from being readily available, we can make huge progress in the inflammation that gives us pain free health or sets our brains on fire.
Want to know how food triggers affect migraines being triggered?
Sign up for the pre-release of our food/triggers guide here:
Want to see the migraineur food pyramid? Click here
Holistic Health Practitioner
Mark Canadic is a writer, speaker, holistic health practitioner and migraine community leader. Read Mark’s inspiring comeback story, “My Burnout and Brain Fires that Lead me to the Root.” Feel free to send Mark a message here.