Researchers found that for those who experience migraines, one to two servings of caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, cola and tea, were not associated with headaches on that day. Many people also have symptoms such as feeling sick, being sick and increased sensitivity to light or sound.
The study researchers found that, among people with periodic migrain headaches consuming at least three caffeinated drinks a day was tied to a higher likelihood of experiencing a migraine on that day or the following day. However, consuming only one or two caffeinated drinks a day was generally not associated with migraines, the study found. The role of caffeine in triggering migraine headaches may be particularly complex, the authors said, because its impact depends on how much people consume and how often. Caffeine may trigger an attack, but it could also have a pain-relieving effect, they said.
In the new study, the researchers analyzed information from nearly 100 adults who were diagnosed with episodic migraines, which means they experienced migraine headaches at least twice a month, but no more than 15 times a month.
They also filled out twice daily headache reports detailing the onset, duration, intensity and medications used for migraines since the previous diary entry.Participants also detailed information about other common migraine triggers, including medication use, alcoholic beverage intake, activity levels, depressive symptoms, psychological stress, sleep patterns and menstrual cycles. Scientists compared an individual’s incidence of migraines on days with caffeinated beverage intake to their incidence of migraines on days when they had no caffeinated drinks. This eliminated the potential for factors such as sex, age, and other individual demographic, behavioural and environmental factors to confound the data. The data showed that those who had three caffeinated drinks had a 27 per cent chance of a migraine on that day. “Caffeine’s impact depends both on dose and on frequency, but because there have been few prospective studies on the immediate risk of migraine headaches following caffeinated beverage intake, there is limited evidence to formulate dietary recommendations for people with migraines.”
The study found that while nicotine and alcohol did disrupt sleep duration and efficiency – with a pre-bed cigarette taking 42 minutes off total duration of sleep for insomniacs (a person who is regularly unable to sleep) – caffeine seemed to have no effect.