Top 7 ways to stop Weekend Headache

Are those all-too-common weekend headaches holding you back, just when you’re ready to cut loose and enjoy yourself?  It’s time to fight back!

Weekend headaches destroying your relax time?

If you’re prone to tension-type headaches, or migraine attacks, it’s likely that your weekend headache is simply another attack.  But then again, it can be an attack that’s more powerful than normal – some people’s weekend headaches are more painful than the ones they "normally" get.  Or, some people may only get weekend headaches.

In order to fight them, a good strategy is to look for changes.  People with headache or migraine seem to be especially sensitive to changes – diet, schedule, environment – even changes within the body.

Some people believe that their weekend headaches are "stress let-down" headaches.  This could be explained by changes in the body after a busy week, when you’re finally relaxing.

But there could be triggers you can do something about…

  1. Caffeine?  Caffeine is often blamed for weekend headache.  Whether you’re taking in more or less caffeine on the weekend, either way, it could be triggering an attack.  If you aren’t about to cut out all caffeine, at least try to keep it steady, and low.  Same amount of caffeine, same time of day.
  2. Sleeping late?  Same time?  But – I sleep in!  Well, that could be the problem.  For many, sleeping late is a sure-fire way to a powerful migraine attack.  You might not like getting up at the same time every day, but it sure beats that headache.
  3. Not enough sleep?  Actually, any change in sleep schedule could mean a weekend headache.  However, some people find they can get away with staying up late sometimes, as long as they still get up at the same time.
  4. Eat breakfast.  A good, healthy, breakfast – at the same time!  Some people even find they get rid of symptoms by getting up and having breakfast, even if they go back to bed afterwards!
  5. Change of diet?  Are you eating differently on the weekend?  Or, worse – drinking differently?  Could the wine you enjoy on the weekend be triggering headaches?  Cut it out for a while and see.
  6. Environment check.  There are many things in the environment that could be triggering a weekend headache.  Ask yourself, how is my environment different on the weekend?  Is there anything that could be triggering a headache or migraine attack?
  7. Look at the BIG PICTURE.  Weekend headaches aren’t currently considered a disease of their own.  They’re a part of something bigger, whether you get headaches other times or not.  If you have a diagnosis (ie migraine), killing those weekend headaches is probably a part of your overall treatment.  If you haven’t been diagnosed – talk to your doctor about the headaches right away.  They should not be ignored.

There are other ways to stop weekend headaches, but I’ll turn it over to you now.  What have you found that helps?  Leave your comments!

Check here for more about the dreaded weekend headache.

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12 comments… add one
  • Erin Apr 9, 2010

    I have to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep. Any more or less and I get a whopper migraine. It makes it hard when I travel (hard to sleep in a hotel sometimes), but a hot bath really helps (I’ve read it’s the fast cooling of your body after the heat of the bath that makes you sleepy and relaxed). I have to be careful of naps over 1/2 hour too. This used to be one of my main triggers — thanks to a post on this blog a long time ago, I seldom suffer from a sleep-related migraine anymore, because I’m careful to go to bed and get up at the same time whenever possible. Seriously, this blog has improved my life in so many ways, from helping to identify some of my triggers to just making me feel like I’m not a freak with some crazy head problems. While I certainly don’t wish this on anyone, it’s nice to know I’m not alone. Thanks James. You’ve really helped a lot of people with this website!!

  • Sue Brown Jun 20, 2010

    I discovered that my weekend headaches were exercise related – this is when i attended a body-combat class and go running more. I checked out “headace after exercise” online and was told that it was common in migraine sufferers so i went to see my doctor and he agreed – giving me tablets to take before my exercise to prevent headaces but this just slowed me down. I now have stopped this high-impact class and am much better.

    • trp Oct 5, 2014

      for anyone reading this, headaches after workout could be due to dehydration. I experienced severe headache after playing basketball under the heat of the sun. Drink more water. Also, try drinking 1-2 fresh buko juice (coconut water); my headache was gone within 30 minutes.

  • Sue Brown Jun 20, 2010

    Wow, after writing this message i checked out “get a headache after working out? and found loads of other people with the same problem. Thanks to Mark’s comments i am going to try the salt suggestoion! This is great!

    • Natalie Jan 16, 2011

      Salt suggestion? Did I miss something? Please share. Thanks!

  • Richard Jul 31, 2010

    I get the weekend headaches when I sleep in. They are so bad I usually get sick. It happens 95% of the time, so my weekends usually are not very much fun. All these started when I stopped smoking and caffeine at the same time. It shocked my system. 11 years later still the same. Also dehydration might be a factor, but not likely. If my headache isn’t that strong, a good mountain dew will help. So if this seems familiar, let me know.

  • Erin Aug 2, 2010

    Richard, you’ve probably read this already, but getting the same number of hours of sleep is really important for many of us. Don’t let yourself sleep in late on the weekends — it throws off your internal clock or whatever, and can totally trigger migraines. Find a number of hours that works for you and try your best to stick to it. For me, it’s the number of hours, not the exact time, that matters, so if I go to bed late, I set my clock to wake me up in 8 hours if at all possible. Hopefully that helps.

  • srii Feb 13, 2012

    Hi, Thanks for the information. Even i am a Victim of this weekend headache. As you said , it due to the change of environment that i have observed. Also, according to my doctor its due to the low hemoglobin content in your RBC. But it so frustrating to have it as it lasts the whole day unfortunately. 🙁

  • penny Mar 5, 2012

    …ok, so it’s not just me!!…I seldom enjoy a day at home…if I decide to relax and watch DVDs with the phone closed….it won’t take long for me to get headache and then comes the nausea…it’s like some crazy horror movie….sometimes I almost don’t make it to the bathroom on time!!!….then it’s the fatigue I feel the following few days….not fun….to my fellow-sufferers hang in

  • MigrainePal Jan 12, 2014

    I think one important one that should mentioned is STRESS. A really common migraine trigger and usually we have less stress on the weekends versus the week. This drop stress -strangely and cruelly- can trigger migraines in some people.

  • Beth Martin Jun 8, 2014

    This article left me with nothing of value. My weekend headaches happen because I relax, not for any of the other reasons listed. There were no ways listed to stop them, only other reasons that have no bearing on my headaches. A pointless article.

  • sue Mar 2, 2015

    I just read elsewhere that taking time to relax every day for 20 minutes can prevent the weekend headaches. The article recommended a relaxing hot bath nightly. P.S. Mountan Dew is loaded with caffeine

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