Dyeing Your Hair When You Have Migraines

If you fancy changing up your look, dyeing your hair a different colour is an easy way to do it. Or, perhaps you’ve seen a few streaks of grey appearing which you’d rather weren’t there. There are many reasons why you might want to dye your hair, but unfortunately it’s not always as easy as picking a colour when you suffer from migraines; there are other things to consider.

dyeing hair

If you’re one of the many migraine sufferers for whom strong smells are a migraine trigger, then dyeing your hair is potentially a big problem. Many hair dyes come with a strong chemical smell, which can’t be counteracted even if you dye your hair in a large, well-ventilated room where all the windows are open.

If this is the case for you, but you’d still like to dye your hair, then opting for hair dyes which are scent-free and made from organic ingredients is your best bet. This isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be able to dye your hair without triggering a migraine, but it’s one thing you can do to try and reduce the likelihood.

It’s not just the smell of the hair dye which can trigger a migraine though. The process of pulling the dye through your hair can put strain on your hair, and in turn put stress on the scalp. This is especially true of applying all-over hair colour – where the hair has to be pulled taught in order to apply it to the roots. This pulling can be an added migraine trigger, alongside the stress your hair and scalp may be under while it’s twisted up as the dye takes its time to develop.

If you’re looking to dye your hair, but are worried about the migraine risk, then these tips may help you to do so with a smaller risk of triggering an attack:

  • If you’re dyeing at home, may sure that all the windows are open and the air is moving. Setting up a fan to help with the flow may help.
  • If you’re going to a salon to get your hair dyed, tell your stylist about your migraines before you go. This way they can help you to pick a time when the salon will be quieter (the fewer noisy hairdryers going the better!) and they may be able to do other things to help, such as turn the music down, and be extra gentle with your hair and scalp.
  • Remember to drink regularly throughout the process, and to eat something before you start. Dyeing hair is a long process, and low blood sugar and dehydration are two extra migraine triggers that you’ll want to, and can, avoid.
  • Consider your options – you may be able to have an all-over bleach-free dye applied without triggering a migraine attack, whereas a style involving multiple colours, bleaching and highlights may be too much for your body to tolerate.

Poor Sleep Affects Migraines Too

Anyone, whether they suffer from an illness or not, can feel pretty bad the day after a night of little sleep, but for migraine sufferers it can be the final trigger for a migraine attack. It’s not just the amount of sleep that can trigger a migraine though. Poor sleep quality may also indirectly increase headache frequency and severity in patients with migraine.


A study published in the Journal of Clinical Neurology earlier this year found that, as well as poor sleep quality leading to more headaches, it could also contribute to “alterations in the neuroendocrine stress response system and metabolic activity during sleep, resulting in impaired daytime function”.

The study authors concluded that “physicians should make efforts to improve the sleep quality in patients with primary headache disorders, since this would further improve the headache-related impact as well as the headache frequency and severity in migraine and tension-type headaches”.

A different study, which was also published this year but this time in the Journal of Medicine and Life, looked at the relationship between sleep disorders and migraine in children. The authors had noted that previous studies about migraines and sleep were usually only studies involving adults, and instead of quality of sleep, they focused primarily on sleep deprivation as a trigger for migraine attacks or the cessation of migraine attacks after sleep. This newly published study looked specifically at migraines in relation to sleep disorders and disordered sleep in children.

The study found that the odds of having a sleep disorder were 5.6 times higher in the migraine group than in the control group. However, it is worth noting that the study was a very small one, with only 34 participants between the ages of five and seventeen being involved.

Despite there being relatively few studies looking at sleep quality and migraines, it’s clear that it’s not just the amount of sleep which can have an impact on migraine frequency – migraine attacks can also be affected by whether the sleep which has been had has been deep and undisturbed.

Not all sleep is equal, and so, perhaps, working with a sleep specialist to improve the quality of sleep is something that migraine sufferers need to be offered as part of migraine treatment.

Migraines In Children – What To Look Out For

One in seven people, or 14.7% of the population, is thought to suffer from migraines, and in general migraines are considered to be a problem that adults suffer with, but children can also be affected.


Not many people know that migraines can occur in toddlers, and even in babies. According to some estimates, migraines occur in up to 3% of 3-7 year olds, up to 11% of 7-11 year olds, and up to 23% of children up to the age of 15. Since not many people think of migraines as something that children can get, and especially since the migraine symptoms for children are different to those for adults, it’s hardly surprising that so many children’s attacks go undiagnosed.

In adults, migraine symptoms often include; head pain on one side of the head, increased sensitivity to light and sound, feeling sick, seeing visual disturbances (e.g. flashing lights), and feeling dizzy. There are more symptoms, but these are some of the most common. However, the symptoms which children commonly suffer with are a bit different.

In children, head pain is still a common symptom, but the pain typically affects the forehead and temple areas or the whole head –rather than being on one side. Abdominal pain and vomiting is incredibly common. In fact, with some children it’s the main symptom and the headache pain may not be part of their migraine attack at all. Alice in Wonderland syndrome is another symptom to look out for. This is a neurological condition which causes a distorted sense of perception. A child may describe things that are close by as looking far away, and things that are far away looking close.

Migraine attacks are also shorter in duration for children. While adult migraine attacks can last between a few hours and a few days, attacks for children are much shorter – sometimes lasting less than an hour.

Studies suggest that nearly half of children with migraine never receive a diagnosis. This can result in less effective treatment of symptoms, anxiety about future attacks, a loss of confidence, and poor attendance at school.

Simply knowing that if a child says they feel sick, and they are retreating to a quiet and dark place (hiding under a blanket is a common one), that the cause could be a migraine, is the first step in helping a child to get the help and treatment they need. The next one is to book an appointment with a GP, paediatrician, or headache specialist.

How Yoga Could Halve Your Migraines  

If you suffer from migraines and have ever considered doing yoga, there’s now even more of a reason to try it.


A study published in the medical journal Neurology has shown how yoga could reduce the frequency, duration, and pain of migraine attacks. There has been research in the past which has supported the theory that yoga can help in alleviating migraines, but this latest study has suggested that practising yoga could reduce the number of migraines experienced per month by nearly half!

In the study, 114 people aged between 18 and 50 who all suffered from episodic migraines (4 to 14 headaches per month) were assigned into one of two groups. The first group only used medication to try and control their migraines. The second group used medication, but they also practised yoga. Both groups were given guidance on lifestyle changes they could make to help reduce their migraines – such as eating well, doing some exercise, and getting enough sleep.

The group who did yoga did an hour of yoga three days a week for the first month. Afterwards, for the final two months of the study, the group practised yoga for five days per week. The yoga included meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga poses.

At the end of the study, the group who had only been taking medication saw a 12% decrease in the number of headaches they had per month – their average of 7.7 headaches per month went down to 6.8 headaches per month. However, the group who had been doing yoga as well as taking medication went from an average of 9.1 headaches per month, down to 4.7 headaches per month – a 48% reduction in headaches.

Interestingly, the level of medication the yoga group took also went down significantly over the course of the study, with the average number of pills the yoga group took going down by 47%.

Yoga is often cited as a way to reduce stress, which is one major trigger for migraines, but there are also other theories as to why it helps reduce migraines.

It’s thought that yoga may change the autonomic nervous system, and consequently the interconnections with the trigeminal vascular system. Imaging studies have shown there has been a positive effect on the limbic system, pain matrix, and brain networks as a result of yoga. Additionally, yoga is said to improve sleep, physical fitness, and overall quality of life – more reasons why yoga may help to relieve migraines.

Although this recent study has its limitations due to its size, duration, and the data being self-reported, it does suggest that yoga is well worth trying as an additional way to reduce migraines.

Easy Adjustments To Make For An Employee With Migraines

We know that finding out that one of your employees suffers with migraines can be a bit daunting, especially if you don’t have any close friends or family who also suffer with migraines. You want to support your employee and help them, not only so that their work isn’t affected, but also so that they feel happy and confident in their job while looking after their health.


Here are a few easy and inexpensive ways to support your employees with migraines.

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Fragmented Sleep Leads to A Migraine…Two Days Later

We know that sleep – how much we get, and what kind of quality the sleep is – plays a big role in migraine onset and control. It’s often cited that lack of sleep, too much sleep, or a change in sleeping habits can be a migraine trigger for many migraine sufferers.

Fragmented Sleep Leads to A Migraine…Two Days Later

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