6 Tips for Headache Hygiene

Many headaches are related to the overall health of our body. When our bodies are overtired, malnourished or out of shape, we fatigue easily. This fatigue may make our bodies more prone to headaches and lead to chronic or daily headaches.

Akron Children's Hospital's Headache Clinic staff offers these tips to help prevent headaches.

1. Get regular sleep. - Go to bed and wake up at regular times each day.
- Don't sleep too much on the weekends and too little on weekdays.
- Remember, most teens require 8-10 hours of sleep every night.
- Don't take more than 30-45 minute naps each day.
- Avoid strenous exercise close to bedtime.
2. Eat regular meals. - Do not skip meals, especially breakfast.
- Eat regular meals 3 times a day, including protein, fruits, vegetables and carbohydrates.
- Avoid eating too much snack foods, fast foods, or junk foods.
- Watch your intake of caffeine or other foods that may trigger headaches.
- Low blood sugar can trigger a headache.
- Too much sugar may lead to a rapid increase in blood sugar, followed by a rapid decline in blood sugar, which can trigger a headache.
3. Get moderate amounts of routine exercise. - Moderate exercise 3 to 5 times a week will help reduce stress and keep you physically fit. Children may accomplished this with sports activities.
- Avoid too much exercise or inconsistent patterns of exercise.
4. Drink plenty of water. - Dehydration may cause headaches.
- Try to drink 8-10 glasses of water per day.
5. Limit caffeine and other food chemicals. - Caffeine is a stimulant and caffeine withdrawal may cause headaches when blood levels of caffeine taper.
- Aged cheese, processed/cured meats containing nitrates, and foods containing MSG are known to cause headaches.
6. Reduce stress. - Stress may lead to an increase in headaches.
- Relaxation and stress management may help reduce headaches.
- Play and enjoyment are important for physical and mental health. Make sure your child is involved in an activity he enjoys daily. Positive mood can greatly influence physical health.

Adapted in part from information distributed by the American Headache Society
www.achenet.org

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