Your home should be a refuge – and that’s especially true if you suffer from headaches. Unfortunately, your home can also house a host of headache triggers.
Here are a few simple tips to keep your home a headache-free zone:
- Lower the lights. Bright lights at home can be a big problem. People who suffer from intense headaches are often extra sensitive to sensory input, and the glaring light from bulbs or even sunlight can cause head-splitting pain. The flickering quality of fluorescent lights can also bring on the pain. Dim incandescent bulbs (the lower the wattage, the better) are generally preferable to halogens and fluorescents because they emit a steadier, more muted light.
- Avoid allergens. If you suffer from allergies, those sniffle-and-sneeze triggers can lead to headaches, too. Irritants such as dust mites, pet dander and mold inflame your nasal passages, which can trigger a headache. Also, allergy-related congestion can cause a painful buildup of pressure in your nasal passages and sinuses. Invest in a quality vacuum and an air purifier with HEPA (High-efficiency particulate air) filters. HEPA filters can remove up to 99% of airborne allergens.
- Eliminate strong smells. The air quality inside most homes can be worse than it is outside – levels of common pollutants such as formaldehyde are two to five times higher indoors, largely because of inadequate ventilation. Covering odors with scented candles and air fresheners often make matters worse. Intense aromas of any kind irritate the trigeminal nerve, which runs from your nose to your brain and is responsible for most headaches. Use an air purifier with a carbon filter, which cuts down on headache-causing odors.
- Reduce gadget glow. The bright screens of glowing gadgets (laptops, tablets) carry the same hazards are bright lights – their white glow can overstimulate your brain. Also, sitting at the computer or on the sofa hunched over your laptop may bring on muscle-related throbbing. Adjust the brightness setting on your gadgets so they don’t bother you and get a glare-reducing filter for your monitor. Settle into a seat with good back support and make sure your laptop or tablet is at eye level. Also, take a break every 20 minutes to loosen your muscles.