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College Students and Migraine Triggers

Migraine in college students is often caused by stress, anxiety, fatigue, and diet. The National Headache Foundation (NHF) supports college students who experience migraine and headache through Migraine University. The program provides advice on healthier lifestyle choices that can help deter headache triggers, including:

  • Take frequent breaks from studying to avoid eyestrain caused by textbooks and computers
  • Consider getting blue light blocking glasses or installing an antiglare screen on your monitor.
  • Opt for more natural light and avoid/remove fluorescent lights.
  • Use “night mode” on your devices or download light filtering apps for your phone and computer.
  • Look away from your screen at least once every 20 minutes to let your eyes rest.
  • Find a comfortable chair to avoid neck and back pain that can lead to headache
  • Drink caffeine in moderation, since caffeine overuse can cause headache
  • Maintain a consistent meal and sleep schedule; do not fast or skip meals, and¬†have healthy snacks available for a quick bite between classes.
  • Determine if you have any dietary triggers. Elimination diets are an excellent way to identify problematic foods. Exclude only one food item at a time and carefully track the results in a migraine diary.
  • Maintain a well-balanced diet full of leafy greens, colorful vegetables, and protein
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, hydrate with water in between drinks, and eat foods high in fructose to avoid hangover-related headaches in the morning
  • Avoid dehydration and drink plenty of water. Invest in a reusable water bottle.
  • Drink coffee and alcohol in moderation.
  • Practice relaxation techniques to help relieve daily stress and anxiety
  • Incorporate yoga or exercise into your daily routine

Mid-term exams and upcoming finals can result in less sleep, more stress, and increased caffeine consumption, all of which are migraine triggers. Click here for more information on negotiating college while living with migraine disease.

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