table with food on plates

Routine, routine, routine: this is the key to decreasing your migraine pain. Consistent meals and meal times throughout the day are one of the most important routines you can establish for reducing migraine frequency and pain.

How Skipping Meals Affects Migraines, and What To Do About It

The break in routine from skipping a meal can cause a migraine.

Skipping a meal as a trigger, really?

Over 5 thousand Migraine Insight users have tracked ‘skipped meal’ as a trigger. About a third who tracked this show a result where meal skipping is one of their strongest migraine triggers.

Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar levels, can occur in healthy people when their bodies aren’t getting consistent energy. We get energy from food. When our meals are sporadic, our bodies can’t regulate our energy levels, and our blood sugar drops. A known common symptom of low blood sugar? Headaches. Even a regular low blood sugar headache is a pain in the butt (well, head!). But, any headache can also trigger a migraine, too.

Waking up with a migraine could be caused by low blood sugar

Hard to believe. But, yes, low blood sugar can be a factor in morning migraines according to several clinical trials. While your body knows how to power down during sleep and not expect as much food, your blood sugar can still drop low enough to cause morning migraines.

Everyone is different. But, some headache specialists recommend having a high-glycemic snack before bed, such as breakfast cereal or a baked potato. Just call it your bedtime potato.

Strategies for busy days

Again, consistency is the key. Keep easy snacks on hand, like fruit, nuts or seeds, and eat them at the same time each day. Don’t wait until you’re ravenous. Set an alarm on your phone for snack time.

Should I eat three meals a day, or six smaller meals?

Everyone’s meal frequency will be different depending on your triggers and body composition. You can experiment. Try a few weeks on six small meals a day, and track your symptoms in this app. See what happens if you have three solid meals a day, and a few snacks. With enough tracking and experimentation, you’ll land on the meal combination that works best for you — the important part is to be consistent, and don’t skip your usual mealtimes.