What are the Most Common Triggers of Migraine?

Whether they are chronic or acute, migraines can be agonizing and even debilitating. Even when they do not include an actual headache, migraines can have a great impact on a person’s life to the point that they cannot perform normal everyday tasks when they are suffering. It is important to know exactly what can trigger a migraine so that you are better prepared. You may not always be able to predict it, but you can do your best to avoid migraine triggers to spare yourself unnecessary misery.

What are the Most Common Triggers of Migraine?

Changes in Sleep Patterns

One of the most common migraine triggers is a poor sleep. If an individual goes to bed too late and then awakens too early, or if there are significant changes in their sleeping habits, it is very easy for a migraine to come about as a result. Even getting too much sleep can trigger a migraine. In getting a regular number of hours of restful sleep, it is less likely to develop one.

Hormonal Shifts

Women tend to be more likely to suffer from migraines. One of the most common triggers of a migraine in women is related to hormonal changes due to fluctuations in estrogen. Many women experience migraines either right before or during their menstrual cycles, largely due to the drop of estrogen that takes place during that time.

Food, Drinks and Food Additives

Certain types of foods, drinks and food additives can result in a migraine. Processed and salty foods are common triggers, as are artificial sweeteners found in diet soft drinks. Alcohol and drinks that have a high caffeine content can also trigger a migraine. Monosodium glutamate, also referred to as MSG, is also a common culprit. In addition, skipping meals can lead to a migraine.


Although it is impossible to completely avoid it, stress tends to be a migraine trigger as well. A person who experiences a significant amount of stress at work or in the home can easily suffer from migraines. This is especially true when the individual does not have adequate time to relax and forget about the troubles of their day.


Sometimes, allergens can be migraine triggers. Someone who is highly allergic to certain scents from perfumes, tobacco smoke, paint thinner and other substances can experience a migraine as a result of even minor exposure to these smells. Bright light and sunlight can also trigger a migraine.