alarm clock
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Do: Sleep Smart

Sleep is a tricky trigger. Too much or too little of it can bring on a migraine. The key is to keep your downtime constant. Figure out your sleep schedule sweet spot and stick with it.

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woman eats pizza
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Don’t: Skip Meals

When your blood sugar drops, your brain feels it first. Hunger is a common cause of headaches. Be sure you’re giving your body the fuel it needs to work all day.

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Do: Watch the Caffeine

This pick-me-up is both a trigger and a treatment for migraines. Some headache meds add caffeine because it boosts the effectiveness of the pain relievers. The problem comes when you have too much. You could set yourself up for a rebound headache, so be careful with caffeine.

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couple stretching
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Don’t: Over- or Underdo Exercise

Sometimes too much exercise can spark a migraine. But regular, moderate activity will give your overall health a boost and help you stay headache-free. Remember to start slowly and increase your activity level gradually.

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woman with umbrella
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Do: Watch the Weather

Storms often come with changes in atmospheric pressure. These shifts can be a doozy on your head, so don’t get caught off guard. Check the forecast often so you can have treatment on hand if you need it.

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glass of water
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Don’t: Dry Out

Even mild dehydration can spell trouble if you get migraines often. Give yourself a goal of eight glasses of water a day to keep the head pain away. Limit caffeine-containing and alcoholic beverages since they can dehydrate you.

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7 / 15

Do: Plan for Your Period

Hormones can wreak havoc on your head. It’s common to get migraines with your period. Some women get them when they ovulate and during menopause, too. Have a pain-relief plan in place when you know your hormones will be in flux.

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tired man rubs eyes
8 / 15

Don’t: Stare at Screens

Hours in front of a computer or TV can strain your eyes. For some people with migraine, eyestrain can trigger head pain. Take breaks often. Stretch, close your eyes, and get up to get your blood flowing. That’ll help stop a migraine before it starts.

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Do: Track Your Attacks

You can’t avoid your triggers if you don’t know what they are. Keep a migraine diary and write down what you eat, your sleep patterns, medications you take, and any symptoms you have. This will help your doctor come up with a prevention and treatment plan, too.

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Don’t: Grit Your Teeth

Teeth grinding and jaw clenching are common migraine triggers. If you’re doing it in your sleep, talk to your dentist about a device that helps hold your jaw in place and prevent problems. If daytime grinding gives you pain, try to pinpoint the source of stress and work to lower it.

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man playing guitar
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Do: De-stress

Constant worry and tension can harm your health. If you’re migraine-prone, your stress can bring one on. You may even get them after your stress is over and you’re ready to relax. Exercise, eat right, and get enough sleep to help lower your stress. You may also find counseling, biofeedback, or even medications can bring more calm to your life.

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dirty dishes
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Don’t: Ignore Your Environment

From loud sounds to certain smells to flashing lights, migraine triggers are everywhere. Know what things set off your headaches, and do your best to avoid them.

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Do: Be Wary of Wine

Alcohol is supposed to relax you, right? But for some people, the opposite can happen. Certain ingredients in drinks like red wine may cause headaches instead. Watch for a reaction when you drink -- you may be able to have a glass from time to time, or you may need to avoid booze altogether.

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Don’t: Smoke

There’s no doubt about it: Smoking isn’t good for you. But if you deal with frequent migraines, lighting up can be especially harmful. Nicotine, the smell of burning tobacco, and secondhand smoke are all migraine triggers. Talk to your doctor about treatments that can help you quit.

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head massage
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Do: Treat Your Body Like a Temple

The best thing you can do to prevent migraines is to take really good care of your health. Feed yourself nutritious foods, drink water, move your body every day, and get regular sleep. If you focus on your health, your head will thank you.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 01/09/2019 Reviewed by Lawrence C. Newman, MD on January 09, 2019


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American Migraine Foundation: “Migraine Triggers,” “Sleep.”

The Migraine Trust: “Common Triggers,” “Exercise,” “Hypoglycaemia,” “Jaw tension in migraine and other headache disorders.”

National Headache Foundation: “Does Caffeine Trigger or Treat Headaches?”

Mayo Clinic: “Migraines: Are they triggered by weather changes?”

Mount Sinai Hospital: “Headache Triggers and Tips.”

NHS Choices: “Migraine - Prevention.”

Reviewed by Lawrence C. Newman, MD on January 09, 2019

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.