Experts Reveal The 5 Best Ways To Cope When You Wake Up With A Migraine

It’s 6:30 a.m., and the soothing alarm you’ve set to ease you out of sleep is chiming. Your eyes blink open, but it takes a little longer than usual to focus. When they finally do, you spot the golden sunbeams coming through the blinds. Normally you’d smile at this, maybe even bask in their warmth, but this morning is different: The rays are blinding, so you force your eyelids closed. The intensity of the sunshine is practically debilitating, and that’s because you’ve woken up to a head-splitting migraine. Figuring out how to deal with morning migraines is no small feat in and of itself because the damage has, essentially, been done. You’ve already been experiencing the throbbing aches since before you woke up, so environmental stressors are just an added strain. But how can you nurse a nasty migraine if you can’t even make it out of bed?

According to the Migraine Research Foundation, a migraine is categorized as a neurological disease, and is the third most prevalent in the world, as a whopping one billion people worldwide, including children, experience migraines. And even though people who have chronic migraines can typically tell when a migraine is about to strike, it's not unheard of to wake up with a migraine already in motion, just waiting to make the day more difficult.

The good news, however, is that there are lots of preventative measures you can take to prevent morning migraines to the best of your ability. And, if worst comes to worst, there are both medicinal and holistic remedies to fall back on if you wake up already in pain. To put an end to your early-morning migraines, here are a few expert-approved tips to take note of.

Get A Good Night’s Sleep

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “sleep it off,” right? Well, unless you plan on taking a day off of work, or skipping class (which no one would blame you for, BTW), it can be difficult to sleep off a migraine once it’s already started. The key, board-certified plastic surgeon, Ziv Peled, M.D., tells Elite Daily, is to nail down a sleep schedule that ensures you’ll get enough high-quality sleep.

“Given the association between sleep and migraines, it is important to practice good sleep hygiene,” Peled explains. In other words, you should be following the standard best practices of bedtime, such as going to bed and waking up at consistent times, limiting the time you spend on your phone before bed, and avoiding consumption of any foods or drinks that hinder sleep later on in the day, like caffeine and alcohol.

Peled also suggests creating a sleep space that’s soothing for you. “Many physicians would tell a patient to create a quiet and dimly lit space,” he tells Elite Daily. In short, this means no blue light — or any light, if you can help it (blackout curtains truly are a blessing) — putting on a sound machine to help quiet any busy thoughts, and turning down the temperature so that your room and body stay cool throughout the night.

Keep A Food Journal To Identify Potential Triggers

The way your body feels is often a reflection of the food you’re eating. That’s right, folks: Your diet can affect your headaches, for better or for worse. The problem is, every body is different, so while I can sit here and rattle off a bunch of foods that are known to trigger migraines (i.e. sugary cereals, wine, any food containing the food enhancer MSG), you have to know what works, and what doesn’t, for your individual body.

To do this, Dr. S. George Kipa, deputy chief medical officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, suggests keeping a food journal that details everything you eat, and the days you experienced a migraine. By doing this, he tells Elite Daily, over time, you’ll be able to spot a pattern between certain foods and your migraines, and you may be be able to identify a potential trigger.

Do Your Best To Avoid Caffeine At All Costs

For some people, like my husband, sipping a cup of coffee through a migraine will actually help soften the blow of the pain. For others, however, too much caffeine is a common trigger for the pain, Kipa tells Elite Daily. According to the National Headache Foundation, this is because, when your body is used to a heavy caffeine intake, headaches can sometimes ensue as a “caffeine rebound” — aka when the body has gone too long without it. In that case, your daily cup of joe might not be doing you any favors, so it could be high time to consider switching to decaf.

Upon waking up with a migraine, if you know for a fact caffeine is the culprit that’s been doing you dirty, trade a vanilla soy latte for herbal tea to-go, or better yet, drinking water can help to soothe migraines, so invest in a reusable bottle, and keep the refills coming.

Pop A Pain Reliever

Let’s say you woke up with a nasty migraine. You were tossing and turning all night long, possibly due to the fact that happy hour ran a little later than you’d anticipated, and you know leaning on caffeine for a pick-me-up is ultimately going to bring you down. In that case, Ken Shulman, DO, a clinical neurologist, neuroscientist, and vice president of medical affairs of Curelator Inc., suggests seeking out a migraine-specific medication to nurse your woes.

“You want to treat a migraine attack early with an acute migraine-specific medication,” Shulman tells Elite Daily. However, because morning migraines typically start before you even wake up from your slumber, this is obviously a little tricky. Worst case scenario, Shulman says your best bet is to either “use a fast-acting migraine specific medication as soon as you wake with a migraine,” or a non-oral alternative, such as a nasal spray.

Use Essential Oils To Reduce Pressure

If popping pills isn’t your style, and you’d rather take a more holistic route to remedy a nasty migraine, there are essential oils known to be helpful in soothing headaches that you can either diffuse in the comfort of your home, or dot onto your temples at your work desk using a roller applicator for quick relief.

“Lavender, peppermint, and basil oils can all help relieve pressure,” Kipa tells Elite Daily over email — but before trying this, or any new therapy, he says, “make sure you check with your doctor.”