Some people find that changes in their routine can trigger a migraine attack. For example, changing sleep patterns or changes caused by long journeys can precede an attack. Many people (about 20% of people living with migraine) complain that they get migraine attacks at the weekend, or when they go on holiday.
Without the daily grind of getting up and going to work, or getting the kids off to school, you may have a lie in, not have your usual morning coffee, eat at different times, or you may go out and do something you wouldn’t normally do. Alternatively, it may that you have relaxed from your normal stressful life, and it is relaxing that triggers the migraine attack.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying or weekends or holidays! If you are finding your migraine attacks strike just as you start to unwind for the weekend, you may want to consider still getting up and having breakfast at your normal weekday time to ensure you start the day right.
Or, if going on a big holiday, you might want to transition or taper your routine into the holiday by allowing yourself to sleep in a little more each day.
If it is relaxing that triggers your migraine attacks, consider some lifestyle changes to relax more during the week, or consider exercising in the morning of your weekends to get the heart rate up just like work would. Finding consistency is key.
TOPS TIPS FOR PREVENTING WEEKEND MIGRAINE ATTACKS
1. GET UP AT THE SAME TIME
Get up at the same time on Saturday as you do Monday – Friday. The Migraine Brain likes consistency.
2. KEEP STRESS LEVELS SOMEWHAT STEADY ALL WEEK
Keep stress levels as steady as you can all week. Try not to completely relax on the weekend.
3. CONSUME CAFFEINE LIKE IT'S MEDICINE
If you drink coffee during the week, make sure to also drink it on the weekends. Understand that having your coffee two hours later, or not at all on Saturday, is a controllable migraine trigger. Alternatively, wean yourself off coffee entirely (which is not easy, and you may have a number of migraine attacks as you do it).
4. EAT BREAKFAST
Skipping a meal is a trigger. If you eat breakfast at a normal time on a weekday, do that on the weekend too.
5. DRINK MORE WATER
Dehydration is often a major factor in weekend migraine, both because you aren’t in your normal routine, and many are more physically active on the weekends. So keep the water bottle close, and add in a sports drink both before and after exercising to help manage this.
6. WEAR QUALITY SUNGLASSES
If you go outside in the sun, make sure to wear sunglasses to diminish the sun glare and block UV rays.
7. CHOOSE ACTIVITIES THAT ARE NOT HOT AND SWEATY
If you are used to being in an office all day, suddenly running around in the sun is quite a shock to the system. Choose activities like swimming or yoga, that don’t get the heart rate up quite so fast, and indoor activities that allow you to exercise without having to worry about heat and sun glare.
8. TAKE A TRIPTAN PREVENTATIVELY
If you are finding that routine alone is not enough to prevent your weekend migraine attacks, you can try using your migraine medications *preventatively*, that is taking the triptan you normally would every Saturday and Sunday morning, which sometimes works for those with menstrual migraine. Read the research on that here. Note: don't use triptans more than 10 days a month to avoid Medication Overuse Headache
As always, discuss with your doctor the best plan for you.
Elie Weekend Migraine Sydney, NSW
Without doubt, every Friday I get a migraine attack. It’s very annoying and ruins the weekend. Nothing works, I just have to sleep it off.
- Clinically reviewed by Dr Emma Foster MBBS FRACP PhD