Headaches and H2O

The Dehydration Headache

Are you waking up in the morning with a ferocious headache? You may not know it, but you may be having a dehydration headache. You do not replenish your fluid balance as you sleep, and as a result your headache can increase as the night goes on.

There are other causes for waking up in the morning with a headache, to be sure. You may twist your neck in the middle of the night. Changing barometric pressure may affect you. You trigger your headache by sleeping on an old and moldy pillow which irritates your nasal passages.

However, fluids, or the lack thereof, play a big role in your body chemistry and your headaches. Therefore, we will look at several of the most common ones.

Coffee – The Double-Edged Sword

The caffeine in coffee can help reduce or produce your headache. Sometimes your headaches may be caused by caffeine withdrawal. Your problem arises because you cannot drink coffee too late in the day or it can keep you up at night.

Therefore, as the night wears on, your body starts to crave the caffeine. As a result, your head responds by going into headache mode. Finally, you get up with a morning headache. You quickly get your morning cup of java, and your headache calms down again. You now have a better start in the morning. The cycle then repeats.

Soda – You Guessed It. Not Good for your Headaches.

Have you recently inspected the ingredients on your soda bottle? Just think, could any of those ingredients be hazardous to your headache? I will suggest one that might. Aspartame. Sometimes artificial sweeteners are worse than the real thing.

A speaker I heard expounded about the dangers of soda to kids’ health. He had distilled down the pile of disgusting-looking minerals that are left over when the soda has the water removed from it. Further, in another demonstration he showed how, yes, indeed, some sodas do eat away at the copper in pennies. This astonishing fact is no urban myth!

Generally, the darker the soda, the worse it will be for you. People with migraines have sensitive chemistries. There are plenty of ways soda can throw that delicate balance off.

Dairy – How Can Something So Good Be Bad for You?

If you are sensitive to dairy, milk may affect you more than cheese. Why? When you eat cheese, a solid, the cheese is more slowly absorbed into your system. When you drink milk, however, there is no slow absorption. It gets absorbed quickly, for better or worse.

Unfortunately, aged cheese itself may be a trigger. We will look at cheese and other common food sensitivities in a future blog.

You may have heard of the term “ice cream headache.” The ice cream in this phrase refers not to dairy sensitivity but rather the effect that sudden cold stimulation can have on your headache. People without migraines can experience this problem, but if you have migraine, it can be particularly sharp.

Fruit Juice Headaches – Surprise!

Fruit juice is healthy, right? What can go wrong from drinking fruit juice? You may not realize how much sugar is present in fruit juice. The sugar punch from the juice being quickly absorbed can trigger your headache. Your sugar levels may spike after drinking fruit juice.

However, if a headache occurs when your blood sugar levels are low, fruit juices may help you. Balance is key again, as with caffeine.

The migraine brain just does not like rapid changes or shifts in the body’s sugar level. Large, rapid fluctuations may not be tolerated well.

Alcohol Headaches – No Surprise!

Red wine is a red flag for many headache sufferers, because the tannin compounds in it are likely culprits. White wine is reputed to have fewer effects than red wine, though some European researchers found the reverse.

Dark beer may inflame your system more than light beer. You need to figure your alcohol triggers, which can be quite complex. Alcohol may trigger your headache on an empty but not full, stomach. Alcohol may produce a headache only if you drink it in combination with other foods.

Consequently, no alcohol or alcohol-free drinks may give your aching head the best break. If alcohol is your trigger, you probably know it by now.

H2O Takeaway

The migraine brain does not like rapid change. It likes stability in the body chemistry. Various fluids, or the lack thereof, throw the body chemistry out-of-kilter quite easily.

Avoid dehydration. Track the various fluid classes of caffeine, soda, fruit juice and alcohol to map out their effects on you. You will likely find this calibration quite tedious. However, if your migraines pack a wallop, this fine-tuning will be well worth it!



-You understand that if not done properly, some techniques and exercises described in this blog could harm you. Any activities you perform are at your own risk, and you expressly agree to waive any claims against the author for any harm that may arise from your own actions. By reading this blog and conducting these exercises, you accept this risk. This blog provides content related to physical and/or mental health issues. As such, your use of techniques described acts as your acceptance of this disclaimer. Consult Chapter 2 in my book, “Calming the Headache Storm” to make sure the headache is not the sign of a more serious problem. The techniques, advice and strategies contained in this blog may not be suitable for every individual and should be abandoned if your headache increases. Seek the advice of your physician.

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