If you’re prone to headaches, listen up. You can stop the hurt before it starts! Here’s how to pain-proof your day, hour by hour, courtesy of Self magazine:
- At 7 a.m., get up when your alarm goes off. Oversleeping for more than an hour can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle and anything that tinkers with your body’s natural rhythms primes you for pain. The National Headache Foundation suggests waking up and going to bed at the same time every day, even on weekends.
- At 8:00 a.m., if you normally drink coffee or tea, get caffeinated. Neurology expert Dr. Richard Lipton says that caffeine energizes your nervous system, making you feel more alert and clear-headed, but if you skip your morning caffeine fix, the withdrawal could cause a headache.
- At 11:00 a.m. do a posture check. Are you sitting up straight, with your shoulders down and back? If not, readjust. Why? The main sensory nerve in your forehead originates in the base of your neck. Which is why muscle tension in your neck or shoulders can lead to head pain.
- At noon: Drink more water. Dehydration is a common headache trigger. So, keep a bottle on your desk and refill it several times a day.
- At 1 o’clock, eat wisely. Certain foods can spark headaches. Like lunch meats, soft cheeses, and Chinese food. Instead, if you’re prone to head pain, stick with protein and healthy fats, like in string cheese, lean chicken, or a hardboiled egg.
- At 6:00 p.m., lace up your kicks, as the kids would say. Why? Exercise boosts circulation, relieves physical and mental tension, and improves sleep – all of which help fight off headaches.
- At 9:00 p.m., instead of just crashing on the couch, wind down slowly. If you’ve been the Energizer Bunny all day, when you stop-and-drop in front of the TV, your brain is still churning out high-action chemicals and the imbalance between your body and brain can cause a “let-down headache.” So try a more gentle transition, like doing a few stretches, or curling up quietly with a book. That way, when it’s time for bed, you’ll be relaxed, happy and headache free.