Skip to content
June, 05 2017

What causes weekend headaches and migraines?


Gill @JdeV Auchterarder store

After a busy week at work it’s finally time to enjoy the weekend – or you would, if it wasn’t for that pounding headache! This is actually a very common problem, and one that our founder, Jan de Vries, experienced as a young man. In an archived article we uncovered, he claimed ‘All week as I worked hard at my studies and part-time job, I looked forward to a day of relaxation at the weekend. But often, on the long-awaited day, I ended up with what my mother called a Sunday migraine’.

Headaches and migraines are a sure way to ruin anyone’s weekend, but what causes them?

Common causes of weekend headaches and migraines

Inconsistent sleep pattern. This is one of the main reasons why weekend headaches are so common. During the week you establish a pattern of going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time, but at the weekend this all goes out the window. You stay up late, sleep in, and sometimes even nap during the day!

Dehydration. Again, during your working week you may have an established drinking pattern – a glass in the morning, a bottle to sip on during the day and another glass or two in the evening. But at the weekend you may find yourself so busy during the day that you forget about drinking water! People also forget that even a few beers or glasses of wine can easily dehydrate you, so while your headache might not be classed as a hangover, it could still be alcohol-related.

Exercise. Maybe you like going for a Saturday morning run or a Sunday afternoon cycle to enjoy some fresh air. This could be another cause for dehydration, especially if it’s a hot day! If you exercise without any breakfast then a lack of energy and blood sugar can be the cause of your headache.

Overindulgence. I mentioned alcohol earlier, but let’s not forget about food! A healthy diet is often forgotten about at the weekend – does your day start with fresh pancakes and maple syrup, followed by lunch out with friends, maybe a takeaway, and then a bag of chocolate while you watch a Saturday-night film? All this extra salt and sugar is a definite recipe for a headache!

Low blood sugar. On the other hand, migraines can be triggered by low blood sugar, or hypoglycaemia. In the same article Jan notes “people who suffer from low blood sugar often find that when they eat a lot of carbohydrates, the problem worsens”.

Coffee withdrawal. You might be tempted to skip your morning coffee at the weekend – after all you’ve had a lie in so don’t need the extra energy! However, like any drug, coffee can cause withdrawal symptoms if you don’t consume it at the same time every day, or if you skip it altogether! One of the most common withdrawal symptoms is a headache or migraine.

So what can you do about weekend headaches and migraines?

Well this is a tricky question – you want to enjoy your lie-ins and takeaways, but you also want to banish those nasty headaches or migraines! Unfortunately, you may have to make some compromises if you really want to get rid of those headaches for good.

Firstly, try to maintain your normal sleep pattern. Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time as you would during the week. Just think of everything you could get done at the weekend if you didn’t sleep in so late!

Secondly, drink more water! While you’re out and about take a bottle of water with you to sip on during the day. Drink extra if you’re enjoying the sun, doing some exercise or enjoying an alcoholic drink or two. Try buying one of those infuser bottles that you can add fruit to if you find plain water a bit uninspiring! I love adding raspberries and lemon to mine.

Avoid sugar rushes. Indulging in sugary snacks can result in a sudden spike in sugar levels, followed by a crash, resulting in a pounding headache or migraine. Try to swap for some healthier treats – we love Ayesha’s tasty Walnut and Raspberry Brownies, or you can stock up on tasty, healthy chocolate from brands like Ombar.

Eat a healthy breakfast. Make sure this is packed full of complex carbohydrates like oats or brown bread, and add some fruit, eggs or nut butter for an extra boost in nutrition and energy! If you’re planning on a morning run, make sure to eat something first – even just a banana or some toast. Make sure to fuel up properly when you get back. 

If your problem stems from hypoglycaemia, Jan recommended A.Vogel’s Molkosan. He claims:

This is a naturally lacto-fermented whey with a high concentration of minerals. Many of my patients who are hypoglycaemic, or who suffer migraines due to hypoglycaemic problems, can vouch for this. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, I advise them to take half a dessertspoon of Molkosan in a glass of water at breakfast.

When it comes to coffee, you’ve got two options. Either have your cup of coffee on a Saturday morning as you would during the week, or try to cut it out from your week instead. As MigraineAgain say, ‘consume caffeine like a drug, or not at all’. We’re big advocates for cutting it out altogether! There are plenty of ways to boost energy during the week that don’t involve caffeine – check out our tips to boost energy and fight fatigue for some more information.

Hopefully the mystery behind your weekend headache has been solved! If you're looking for something extra to help with those headaches or migraines, why not try the herb Feverfew?