Summer is for enjoying time with friends and family, but unfortunately for many of us, headaches and migraines can ruin an otherwise wonderful time. But there are ways that you can reduce your risk of headaches so you can spend more time enjoying your summer and less time suffering.

Woman drinking water in the hot summer sun

1. Avoid Getting Too Much Sun

Bright lights can be a migraine trigger for many people, and even tension headaches can be increased by squinting against the light. Wear a hat or sunglasses to protect you from the brightness.

2. Be Alert to Allergies

Allergies are also migraine triggers. Allergies can lead to sinus pressure that irritates the trigeminal nerve, triggering a migraine. Summer allergies can be caused by weeds or because you’re spending more time outside doing things like mowing the lawn, which kicks up dust and grass particles. Another common cause of headaches is hay fever. Although hay fever tends to happen during spring when grasses, trees, and flowers begin to bloom, it’s still possible to experience this pollen allergic reaction during the summertime.

3. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is important for your health, your energy, and preventing headaches. Make sure you’re drinking enough when you’re outside and exercising, and remember that water is the best beverage for this. Even sports drinks, which can have some benefits, are very acidic and can erode your teeth if you’re not washing them down with water, so try to alternate beverages and have a glass of water every other drink.

Also, colas, sweet tea, and other drinks also contain caffeine, which can sometimes help with headaches, but for many people acts as a headache trigger. Alcohol can also lead to dehydration and act as a headache trigger, so be careful of drinking and alternate beers or juleps and water.

4. Watch What You Eat

Between barbecues and stops at pleasing dives along the road, you’ll likely be eating a lot of unfamiliar foods this summer. Unfortunately, many of them may contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is a common migraine trigger. Be aware of the risk and try to avoid foods with MSG.

5. Watch How You Eat

And it’s not just what you eat, but how that can lead to headaches. When you open your jaw really wide to bite into those ribs or that really stacked burger you can trigger or worsen your TMJ-related jaw pain, which can also contribute to headaches. Avoiding hard or crunchy foods can give your jaw a much-needed rest from overchewing. However, if you avoid foods that are hard to chew for too long, you might face certain dietary side effects. If TMJ is making eating difficult, seek help from your dentist.

6. Control Stress

Stress is a year-round headache risk, but that’s no reason not to try to control it during summer. Try to take it easy and not get too upset about things–the living is supposed to be easy in summertime, right?

7. Maintain a Consistent Schedule

With summer’s longer days, it’s tempting to stay up very late on the weekends, but changing your schedule around can interfere with your body’s rhythms and lead to headaches.

Bonus Tip: TMJ Treatment Can Reduce Headaches

Another way you can try to reduce your migraines and headaches this summer is to get TMJ treatment. TMJ can contribute to headache risk, and treating your TMJ can reduce your headache frequency and severity. It even works for migraines.

Want to learn whether TMJ treatment can help your headaches? Call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment with a TMJ dentist in Columbia, SC today.