Cookies and milk…and unplug.
We’ve all done it. Tried weird and crazy things in the hope of combating our personal war against migraine. Over the years, I have tried to monitor my actions more than my intake of food or drink in an effort to control my migraine attacks. For me, it is mostly activity and physical stressors on my head that trigger migraine. Anything from laughing too hard, to exercise, to lifting heavy packages can do it for me. So I’ve decided to be gentle on my head, and everything in it.
Any one of us who uses a smartphone or tablet has surely plopped ourselves into bed staring into that screen for what we think is enjoyment. Checking our Facebook, or YouTube. Looking at pix on Instagram, or following our favorite celebrities on Twitter. We’ve all heard ‘no computers in bed’. But this isn’t work, it’s fun. What harm could watching Vine videos do. For me, plenty.
Mornings are tough for me, the scariest part of my day. I know from the split second I open my eyes if it will be a migraine day or not. I monitor my daily activities religiously to do whatever I can today to avoid that migraine tomorrow. Several weeks ago, while faithfully adhering to my migraine prevention rituals, I was waking up with migraine 3 and 4 days in a row. I was beside myself. I knew I was doing everything right to prevent that migraine and avoid my triggers How could it possible be that I’m waking up with one. I run down the list of all the previous days’ triggers and there were none so how in the world could it be that I’m having a migraine at the start of the day???!!!
That night, like I do every night, I was setting my alarm on my cell phone and like I do every night took a stroll down Twitter lane and a quick look at Facebook while laying in bed and then I felt it. An ever so mild sensation at the back of my right eye (which is where most of my migraines begin). A very faint wave of nausea came over me, almost undiscerable, and immediately I panicked because I recognized that migraine moment. I quickly put my phone down, turned out the lights and tried calmly to fall asleep. But it was too late. The damage was done. I awoke with a migraine.
Sure enough, after I analyzed my activities of the previous nights, I realized I was looking at my smartphone or tablet before sleeping each of those nights before waking with a migraine. It all started to make sense. I may not realize it but I must be straining my eyes coupled with the position of my head or neck, tack on the ‘blue light’, you’ve got the perfect storm. A migraine is like a sleeping bear somewhere in my head, and there I am poking it.
I’ve made some other observations which may support the unplugging to avoid migraine phenomenon. I work in a school setting. The ages of the children range from 3 to 18 and I am shocked at how many parents I speak with that tell me about their young children’s migraines. How can it be that an 8-year old boy has such severe migraines that he is hospitalized. Another boy of 12 years having migraines for several consecutive days with such severe pain and vomitting that all he can do is stay in his dark, quiet bedroom until it passes. Then there is the 16-year old girl whose migraines cause her to blackout. And there are more. I’m convinced it is due to tech device usage. It’s the only common denominator. Look around, people of all ages are plugged in. Babies in carriage who can barely walk on their own have their special kiddie carrying case for their tablet.
Of course, it is impossible for us to do without these devices and I’m not foolish enough to think any of us can unplug for an extended period of time. But, if you are a migraineur, you know ANYTHING is worth a try. Make a point of not looking at your device before you go to bed. Especially avoid doing so while laying down. And turn down the brightness at night as well. If it works, then pass it on to those you love. If it doesn’t, then pass it on to those you dislike immensely.
We are creatures of habit and this is one tough habit to break, but for me, it has made a tremendous difference in how I feel the next day. It’s not such a big deal to unplug before bedtime. Fear not, oh addicts of the internet. It will all still be there tomorrow.