Man suffering from one of the common migraine triggers.

Common Migraine Triggers and How to Avoid Them

If you suffer from migraines, you know the symptoms can sometimes be incapacitating. Common symptoms often include nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound, and odors. By identifying the signs of a migraine onset, though, you can learn to identify your specific triggers. More importantly, you can implement preventive tools to help you manage this debilitating condition and possibly avoid future attacks. Here is a closer look at the common culprits shared among migraine sufferers and how you can avoid them.


Stressful situations are often beyond our control, but how we react is important in warding off migraines. Learning techniques to reduce stress can be beneficial, too. Methods such as relaxation therapy, meditation, and doing things you love can often reduce stress and change the way your body responds to stress.

Exercise is key to being healthy and is a great stress reducer, but it is imperative that you choose activities that don’t put overwhelming amounts of strain on the body. Water aerobics, yoga, and tai chi are excellent examples of low-stress exercises you can do to reduce the onset of migraines.


Many people find their migraines symptoms intensify because of food and drink choices, and hunger and dehydration both serve as triggers for migraine headaches. This is why it’s important to eat regularly and to avoid skipping meals. You should always make sure to eat within one hour after waking and then every three to four hours. Keeping a food diary to identify foods that trigger symptoms and avoiding those foods can be a preventive tool as well.

Common ingredients that often trigger a migraine attack include foods that contain MSG and histamine. Several common foods identified to cause migraine symptoms are cheese, chocolate, artificial sweeteners, and cured meats. Being mindful of caffeine or alcohol consumption can help identify what amounts can lead to a migraine onset. It’s also recommended to sip on water all day long and track your fluid intake to prevent dehydration.


There is an undeniable connection between a migraine and sleep patterns. Sleep helps to renew and repair all parts of the body, including the brain, which explains why an irregular sleep schedule can trigger a migraine onset. It is important to have a regular bedtime and get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night to avoid migraines. However, going to bed and going to sleep are two different things. Try to avoid texting, reading, and watching television at bedtime to ensure adequate sleep is achieved.

According to the American Migraine Foundation, nearly half of all migraine attacks occur between 4:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., which places migraine sufferers at a greater risk for developing a sleep disorder. Even getting too much sleep can trigger a migraine, so waking up at the same time daily is important too.

Remember, everyone has different migraine triggers and will experience a migraine differently. Avoiding severe symptoms can often be as simple as a change in your lifestyle and diet. By learning what to avoid, you can learn to keep your migraines under control. Talking openly with your doctor and identifying your triggers can assist your doctor in giving you an accurate diagnosis and will be of the utmost help in creating the best treatment plan.

Georgia Vascular Institute is a referral center that can help with many types of health concerns. We can help with veins, fibroids, infertility, migraines, osteoporosis, cancer treatment, foot and leg ulcers, and many other conditions. Contact us anytime to learn more about how migraine treatment options can help you.