Migraines!  Horrible beasts.  Today I’ve got a corker of a migraine.  My right eye feels like it wants to pop out of my head like something from a Tim Burton movie  and the light hurts like heck.  Luckily, its raining buckets, so the clouds are covering the sun.   I know my migraines are frequently weather related, but I also know I brought this one on partially myself.  As a mother and full time IT worker, my days are booked 24/7.  I have to fit in “my” time when everyone else is in bed.  Consequently, I don’t get much sleep some nights.  So, although I exercise, avoid red wine, eat organic, drink my Shakeology like its a new found religion, and try to stay LOW STRESS, sometimes I still manage to make things worse.  My downfall is the sleep schedule.

I’m sure you can identify with my plight.  It seems these days like there is more and more to do, but with less and less time.  How can I work 8 hours, drive 2, be a mom, get homework, housework, and my workout done in the allotted time and STILL go to bed?  The answer?  I don’t think there is one, except to choose your battles wisely.  There are many days when I go to bed with the laundry undone, dishes still in the sink, and occasionally kids homework unfinished.  In the latter case, I usually will send a note explaining to the teacher that I got home late and wasn’t able to address the issues with the assignments.

According to studies we need to get a solid amount of sleep, eat at regular times and eat well.  Medication use is up in women.  I believe that we do have issues with migraine intensity and duration based on our sleep patterns because when I was pregnant and sleeping poorly I had so many migraines it was awful. Finally the doctor gave me something to help me sleep (not a sleeping pill), and ordered me to do that 3 nights in a row and it worked after weeks of having a migraine, I finally was migraine free.  If you want to read more sleep/eating patterns with migraine there is a great little article on WebMD (http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/guide/20061101/improve-sleep-habits-to-cut-migraines).

Three things to focus on  to STOP giving MYSELF Migraines:

  1. Realize that I am only human and that somethings are not going to get done in the time frame I feel they should.  I accept that (most days) and go to bed.  I work.  My mom did not, so our circumstances are different.  It isn’t fair to myself to measure my daily progress in the house against hers because she didn’t leave for 10 hours to work an outside job only to come home and keep a perfect house.  Get OVER IT is my mantra, sometimes it works better than others!

I know that I have to focus on getting better at sticking to my schedule.  I need to stop obsessing about getting this done or that done.  Focus on more fun…and getting some much needed R & R without feeling guilty.  It really comes down to time management and prioritizing what do I really want/ need to do in a day and what can happen tomorrow.

  1. Frequently I have issues with getting all my meals in at work and at home due to the hectic schedule. I find if I don’t get those meals in then my migraines are more often AND intense.  My solution is to stock the house with healthy alternatives.  For the last couple of years a staple in my family diet has been Shakeology.  It can be used as a meal replacement or as a snack.  In my office at work, I keep packets of Shakeology and a container of PB2 (Powdered Peanut Butter).  Coupled with a shaker cup and a banana and I have a great instant meal. PLUS there’s tons of other essential nutrients and pro-biotics in it that I wouldn’t get otherwise.  I make protein bars and frozen cookies out of the Shakeology as well.  There are nutrients in it that help with cravings, antioxidants, blood pressure, cholesterol, and memory. My theory is anything that helps with memory is a good thing when I have migraines and frequently forget things!  They say you should avoid drastic changes in your diet AND eat foods that are unprocessed, which makes it especially important that you better plan healthy meals.  There are also studies on migraines and dairy, watching cheese intake is also recommended.

    In addition to Shakeology, I also have pre-prepared meals in the freezer.  They are frozen in mini Pyrex dishes.   I can grab one of them for myself, the kids, or the family.  They are great for on the run.  For extra fiber and omega 3, I also mix a water full of Chia seeds and fresh lime once a day. Chia is an awesome superfood and one you should look into incorporating into your diet as well!  It gives me an extra boost of energy, fills me up, and helps keep me hydrated.  Plus the fiber and Omega 3’s are good for the brain!

  2. Exercise at appropriate times.  I used to exercise at night after the kids go to bed, but I find I’m fanatic about getting in that last mile of my predetermined amount of miles.  In fact, I’m so determined that I was running at 1 in the morning when I had to be up at 5 in the morning for work!  If I fell asleep with the kids and woke up at 3 am I would go down and get a few miles in to curb the guilt.  Now I exercise as soon as I get home from work.  I’ve found ways to incorporate the kids.  In fact, this fall we might start a kids fit club for my son and his friends. I think its great that we all do it together because it helps him establish a healthy lifestyle early on.  Kids love to get out and do things.   The more they see you do, the better reinforced the importance of a healthy lifestyle is for them!

Its also interesting to note that people (including myself occasionally) report having triggered a migraine during/because of exercise.  I find that if I exercise SMART and don’t to a lot of height changes or if I feel as though I’m more prone to a migraine that day, I don’t try pushing myself if I feel like a may get one or if I feel that twinge of one while doing a particular program.  The bottom line is that you NEED to exercise AND eat AND sleep and ALL these things are good in moderation.

Interesting Links on Migraines and Exercise:

http://www.newsmaxhealth.com/health_stories/migraines_exercise_study/2011/10/08/410822.html – a study comparing exercise and medication at a Swedish headache clinic

http://www.dailyspark.com/blog.asp?post=migraine_sufferers_may_benefit_from_aerobic_exercise (migraines and aerobic exercise, from Spark)

Links on Migraine and Diet:

http://www.relieve-migraine-headache.com/diet-headache-migraine.html

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400666/AntiMigraine-Diet.html

Links on Migraines and Sleep:

http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/features/do-your-sleep-habits-trigger-migraines

http://www.achenet.org/resources/sleep_insomnia_and_migraine/

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