Woman sitting on edge of bed looking weary and hunched over.

My Morning Routine…Sometimes

Waking up with painful migraines nearly everyday means having a morning routine that might look a little strange or different to those who don’t live with the disease. For me, extra time and care is usually needed in order for me to get ready for the day, and morning commitments are difficult to arrange because I never know how long it will take to get ready, or if I will be well enough to drive into town in a certain amount of time or at all.

Mornings disrupted by migraines

Many people who live with migraine know well how unpredictable the disease can be. For me, it was always a struggle to force myself to quickly get ready to head into work when I had to show up for shifts at 9:00 am, and a lot of times, even with preparation and routine planning, migraine would require a bit more time than I had. I thought I would share what an average morning looks like for me when I wake up with a migraine. Note: This is a description of my routine when I am home alone and getting ready for the day. When my caretaker is home from work or has the day off, things are a lot different and easier in ways. On mornings when they are home, they usually get breakfast for me and help me by asking if I need anything.

My morning routine

In the mornings, the first thing I do is take my medications. I keep a pack of bottled water and sometimes ten or more medications and vitamins bedside, for migraines, asthma, allergies, pain, and nausea. Some of the medicine has to be taken with food, so I make a point to try to work towards breakfast soon after waking up. There are some days when I cannot make breakfast or am not able to eat as soon as I would like, but it is a high priority item for me.

Jaw pain and needing more sleep

After waking up and taking my medications, I usually am not able to jump right out of bed. Lately, I have had such intense migraines during the night that I wake up with sore teeth and jaws from clenching so tightly down on my teeth at night. I usually lay in bed for a while massaging my jaws and my temples until I feel well enough to head to the bathroom. There are some mornings when I lay in bed for more than an hour after waking up because I just don’t feel well, and other times I even go back to sleep. I am lucky that right now I don’t have to go into work early in the morning, so I have the time to adjust to the day and even go back to sleep if I need to. I usually set my morning alarms for 9:00 am, with the goal to be up and about by 11:00 am.

The comfort of a hot shower

Then, there is my favorite part of the morning: Showering. It is one of my most prized activities when I have a migraine because it almost always makes a noticeable difference in my pain level. The warm water really helps to soothe the pain in my head and it acts as heat therapy. I usually massage my head while the water runs down and sometimes it gives me enough relief that I feel almost ‘normal’ for awhile. Sometimes during the day, even if I have already showered, I will shower again for the heat therapy. I get dressed in comfortable clothing after showering.

Using breakfast to reduce my pain

After showering, I have breakfast. When I have a migraine, plain is the name of the game. Simple, bland, and easy are my go to’s. I keep fruit on hand, and will have fruit and tea or coffee in the morning. Coffee is a toss up, sometimes caffeine helps relieve migraine pain for me, and other times it makes things worse, so if things are really bad I go for decaf tea. Having a hot beverage, just like the hot shower, seems to help and makes me feel calm and at ease. If I am experiencing nausea in the morning the tea also helps to soothe the feeling of needing to throw up and can help keep my breakfast down.

Resting in a dark cool room

After breakfast, when my migraines are really bad, I tend to lay back down. This is true especially if it is early enough. Being chronic means bending to the will of migraine sometimes, even if I have plans or want to go out and about. Sometimes I can’t. Lately I have been spending more time in bed with pain, but it can be nice to have the entire house to myself. When it is empty and quiet, with the fan on full blast and curtains drawn, I find relief in resting in a dark cool room.

Taking advantage of a flexible schedule

If and when I feel well enough or rested enough, I begin my work day: running errands, taking care of bills and business, and going to work all happens in the evenings for me these days when I have had ample time to get up and on with things. It is really a privilege to have the flexibility to schedule commitments in the evenings these days.

No two days are the same with migraines

Not everyday looks like this though, and many with migraine know well that one day can look radically different from the next depending on interactions with triggers, what symptoms we are experiencing, and how much tolerance we have on a particular day. On days where I am experiencing vertigo for instance, my morning routine is just: lay in bed. I have a hard time eating or moving, and showering is just out of the question, so it all depends really on how I am feeling. One thing those who live with migraine are really good at is adjusting and adapting!

What does your morning look like as someone who lives with migraine? Do you have any favorite parts of the morning, or any routines that help to alleviate some of the pain in the morning? Let’s discuss in the comments!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (16)
  • Leslie Coutsouridis
    3 days ago

    I am very familiar with the daily pain that makes it difficult or even impossible to do even the most simplest things. Recently, I lost my part time job because I could no longer handle it with chronic migraine symptoms. I applied for disability payments and was successful. The payments I am getting could not cover living expenses but I am alright with my husband’s incomes. I am wondering about all of the migraine sufferers that still try to work and life is so terribly difficult. Have others looked into getting disability, and if you do, would it not give you enough income to live on? I receive around 820.per month before taxes.

  • Steviegee
    5 days ago

    Your pattern of headaches sound exactly like mine. And because I’m literally allergic to everything, (being only a matter of to what degree), I discovered that the clenched jaw followed by jaw pain were seizures. I empathize with you all too well.

  • lmlahlum
    1 week ago

    Kyky, have you tried a mouth guard for the teeth clenching? I also grind and clench; and I’m sure I would have broken a few teeth if not for the mouth guard. Certainly my grinding makes a migraine worse. I ordered mine on Amazon. They send you an impression kit and you make your own mold, then return it to have the mouth guard made. The ones you can get in the store did not work, they didn’t fit closely and I would wake up with it displaced. I can find a link if you would like to try one. I also listen to a “Stop griding” hypnosis CD when I go to bed.

  • Kyky Knight moderator author
    6 days ago

    Imlahlum,

    Thank you for the tip! I actually have tried a mouth guard for teeth clenching but it was the kind you can get from the pharmacy…did not work for me as it did not fit well like you said and was quite uncomfortable to sleep with. I think I will give the custom fit ones a try! I usually listen to sleep sounds on the Alexa at bed time and that helps me get to sleep when the pain is particularly bad. Thank you for sharing, and take good care!

  • Steviegee
    5 days ago

    I even had my dentist fit me for one and I just couldn’t get used to it.

  • Mom66
    1 week ago

    I had all of these symptoms. Propranolol 60mg before bedtime has really helped me with my migraines. It has been a lifesaver for me. I do not wake up with the aches and pains like I use too. I also take Amitriptyline and Zonisamide.

  • Tom Picerno moderator
    1 week ago

    Thanks for the input Mom66. There are so many medications that can be used to treat migraine and it’s symptoms, and finding the right ones with the help of your doctor is key. I’m glad you found medications that have helped you. Be well.

  • CarolK
    1 week ago

    I’m sorry to hear that your migraines cause you such significant pain. It has helped me greatly to give up caffeine completely. Even with decaf coffee, the small amount of caffeine, or more likely caffeine withdrawal, caused me to have early morning headaches. Now, with zero caffeine plus two preventative medications, I have only occasional migraines. I encourage you to try giving up all caffeine! Good luck!

  • Steviegee
    5 days ago

    Sounds good, I know I should give up the acetaminophen/caffeine capsules, I know caffeine causes rebound headaches,(some days I’m actually headache free, so they don’t always rebound). But the migraine medicine I’ve taken turns me into a zombie. I can’t take aspirin because I have a clipped aneurysm in my head and I shouldn’t take anything that thins the blood. Do you know of migraine medication that keeps you alert, doesn’t interfere with seizure medication and doesn’t thin your blood?

  • Tom Picerno moderator
    1 week ago

    CarolK thanks for the comment. I agree that diet changes like giving up caffeine can work well for some. I removed gluten from my diet and noticed a modest improvement in my symptoms, but since migraine is different for each person there’s a lot of trial and error to finding what works best. Enjoy your day and be well!

  • farm966
    1 week ago

    You are fortunate to have a flexible schedule in the morning, I have to be in early every morning. I am blessed because Aimovig has dramatically reduced my migraine frequency so I don’t have to go through this as often. I have gone from a migraine every three to four days to one a month! Before that I am all too familiar with the depression.

  • Tom Picerno moderator
    1 week ago

    Hello farm966! A flexible schedule is definitely a blessing, but not too common in today’s work place. It’s great to hear Aimovig has given you such good results. I hope you continue to have many more migraine free days! Be well.

  • Soteria
    1 week ago

    I, too, am in the same situation. I generally have a migraine every night, and if I’m lucky, it starts early enough (around 1-3am) so I can lay there and deal with it with ice packs before I have to get up and get ready for work. If it’s just a regular migraine, I consider myself fortunate, because if it also involves the gastrointestinal system, the vomiting, I can’t leave until that stops. And sometimes it doesn’t for a couple of days. There have been episodes where I have literally laid on the bathroom floor for 6+ hours because I did not have the strength to crawl back to bed. And then, with incessant vomiting, I have to worry about dehydration as my sodium level plummets with those kind. That’s when I generally end up in the ER begging for a IV saline bag. I would not wish migraines on my worst enemy.

  • Tom Picerno moderator
    1 week ago

    Soteria I’m sorry to hear what you go through with migraine disease, but just know you are not alone! I know what it’s like to spend hours on the bathroom floor. If you have not discussed the incessant vomiting with your doctor I’d encourage you to speak to them. There are medications to help with nausea and vomiting they may prescribe. Take care and be well.

  • deedeevee1
    1 week ago

    It’s like you have a camera in my life. Lol. Sad but true. This last clip I can’t even get into the shower the vertigo is so bad. And now the depression and guilt have started kicking my butt as well. I give up.

  • Tom Picerno moderator
    1 week ago

    Hang in there deedeevee! I know how bad migraine can be. I’m glad you took time to post a comment too. As migrainuers we know all too well it’s more than just the killer headache. The other symptoms that accompany an attack can be pretty terrible too. Take time to discuss your symptoms with your doctor. They can help you manage them. You can use this link to help find a specialist near you. http://migraine.com/blog/looking-for-a-migraine-specialist. Be well!

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