There is no doubt that headaches caused by heat are something that everyone will experience at some point, whether it is hot where you live or you are on vacation. Especially in the summer, many people go to the doctor due to headaches and worse migraine attacks.
Surveys conducted in different countries show that between 85 and 90% of the population say that they have had at least one headache during the last year. This makes headaches the most common complaint in almost all healthcare services.
This disorder does not affect men as much as it affects women. 80% of men have had a headache in the last year, while this number rises up to 95% in women. Migraines also affect women more than men, affecting about 15% of the general population.
So, what is the reason we get headaches when it is hot? When you are on holiday or it is summer, this is usually a time you spend relaxing and doing outdoor activities, while trying to avoid being indoors because the weather is so nice, right?
However, it is precisely these conditions and activities that can contribute to causing headaches.
Let’s address some of the several hidden causes among headaches caused by heat.
Causes of headaches caused by heat
There are several reasons why you may get a headache. Apart from special diseases and conditions with known causes, headaches are often not caused by a single factor.
A headache caused by heat is no exception. Your head does not hurt just because it is summer or hot. The pain is caused by a variety of conditions and situations that can occur during the days you spend in the heat.
The combination of all these heat-related situations can often lead to a disgusting headache. A common combination is when you are on vacation and your sleeping habits change in addition to spending more time in the sun.
Heat is of course one of the most common causes of headaches. During the summer or when you are on holiday in a hot country, blood vessels will often dilate thanks to the high outdoor temperatures.
This means that the blood vessels increase in size to exchange heat energy with the outside to help prevent heat stroke (sunstroke). Unfortunately, a side effect of this dilation of the blood vessels may be migraines.
Alcohol intake and dehydration
During the summer or when it is hot, the body needs more fluids than usual due to high outdoor temperatures. People often try to quench their thirst with alcohol during the hot months, especially during the holidays. However, alcohol will not hydrate your body. In fact, it does the opposite: you become more dehydrated and thus you get a headache.
Changes in sleep habits
Changes during the day and at night can also be the cause of your migraines getting worse. When your body is exposed to more light during the day, your sleep habits and schedules may change as a result.
A classic consequence of this is that in the summer you sleep fewer hours or you may even suffer from insomnia.
People who do not suffer from insomnia normally can experience it when it is hot outdoors. Maybe there is less stress at work or you have taken time off completely, the children do not have to get up early to go to school, and the phone and TV are switched on later in the evening.
Your social life is flourishing as well, in addition to consuming alcohol and caffeine (which are diuretics). As a result, you get more headaches.
How can you avoid headaches caused by heat?
Let’s take a look at what measures you can take to prevent headaches in the summer or when you are on vacation. All of these are simple steps that can be divided into two groups, based on the main goal of them:
- To counteract the summer heat
- To counteract unhealthy summer and holiday habits.
Steps to combat and prevent headaches caused by heat
- Be careful with the sun: The summer sun and the sun in the countries we often travel to to find the heat are much harder on the body than the autumn, winter and spring sun in Norway. It is therefore important that you protect yourself with hats, and that you wear white clothes. Sunglasses are also useful. If possible, try outdoor activities a few hours before or after 12 o’clock, as this is when the sun is at its strongest.
- Avoid drastic temperature changes: When it is hot outside, many people like to set the air conditioner to full power. However, going in and out of areas where the temperature is very high or very low can trigger headaches.
- Keep your home or hotel room cool – not cold: Try to keep the indoor temperature cool, not cold, if you use an air conditioner. In fact, fans are a better option to overcome the heat.
- Stay hydrated: During the summer, your body needs more water than usual. To avoid dehydration, it is important to drink fluids regularly, as well as to avoid fluids that will dehydrate you faster, such as alcohol.
Measures against unhealthy summer and holiday habits
- Eat healthy: You can increase your fluid intake by consuming more foods that are high in water, such as fruits and vegetables. For those suffering from migraines, it is important to avoid foods that contain substances that can trigger headaches. This includes, among other things, sausages and chocolate.
- Maintain your regular sleep schedule: Many people are used to changing their circadian rhythm completely when it is summer or when they are on vacation. However, medical personnel agree that the best thing you can do is try to follow the same sleep plan throughout the year. In addition to going to bed and waking up at about the same time each day, you should also try to get the same amount of sleep each night.
- If you do not wake up or go to bed on time, try taking a nap for 30 minutes during the hours when the sun is most intense. This will also prevent you from being in the sun when it is at its strongest.
During the summer and when we are on holiday in hot countries, we are exposed to an increasing number of factors that can cause headaches to appear. The higher temperature, along with dehydration and insomnia, may explain why many people suffer from headaches when it is hot outdoors.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to take better care of yourself by changing some of your habits. These are some ways you can both prevent the onset and relieve the headaches caused by heat.
Remember these tips!