Headaches during Ramadan

Do you suffer from headaches during the Holy month of Ramadan? Listen to the advice   and explanations of our nutrition expert Christelle Bedrossian on how to cure the Ramadan headaches!

Why do people suffer from headaches during Ramadan?

  • The most common complaints during Ramadan are headaches.
  • Headaches can occur as the day passes and can worsen by the end of the day.
  • Affects mainly those prone to have headaches


  • No one is quite sure what causes the “first-of-Ramadan headache”(=first day of Ramadan”, but there does seem to be a correlation between caffeine intake pre-Ramadan and headaches during: caffeine withdrawal.  Reducing caffeine intake gradually during the two weeks leading into Ramadan seems to ease the headaches. Never cut it off directly
  • Smoking withdrawal
  • Very little fluid intake can lead to dehydration, especially on particularly hot days which causes headaches. If untreated, dehydration can lead to fainting or shock (very low blood pressure)
  • Hunger:

–          if they are skipping suhur because headache frequency increased with the duration of fasting

–           not eating appropriately during suhur(long lasting food)

  • Hypoglycemiaà 2 problems in one
  • When associated with “low blood pressure”, the headache can be quite severe and can also cause nausea before Iftar.
  • Working too much
  • Lack of sleep

How can we treat headaches:

  • For caffeine:

–          A progressive reduction of caffeine consumption in the weeks preceding the month of Ramadan

–          A cup of strong coffee just before the start of the fast may prevent the occurrence of first-of-Ramadan headache

–          Herbal and caffeine-free teas may be substituted.

  • For hunger: Eating long lasting food in order to avoid hunger and hypoglycemia. Slow digesting foods last up to 8 hours, while fast-digesting foods last for only 3 to 4 hours
  • For water: Drinking enough water and fluids. People who don’t like to drink water; they can replace it with soups or juices.

What should we change in our lifestyle to ease the pain of a tension headache?

Other things you can do to ease the pain of a tension headache include the following:

  • Sleeping adequately: around 8 hours overall… Reorganize your schedule during the Ramadan so as to have adequate sleep. Get enough rest or sleep.
  • Take time away from things that are stressful and take a brief walk because sports decreases stress while releasing endorphins or take a hot shower

Why do people face muscle cramps during Ramadan and what is the treatment?

  • Muscle cramps are due to an inadequate intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium foods.
  • during hot weather we lose water and potassium


  • For calcium: include milk, labneh and yogurt (skimmed), cheese (low fat)
  • Potassium and magnesium: vegetables, fruits, dates and almonds
  • Especially for potassium dates and bananas are very good sources. Dates are 64% more rich in potassium than bananas. This is one reason why we break our fast with dates

About helwielhayet

Helwi el-Hayet discusses your favorite topics every week day at 4:30 p.m. Beirut time. From fashion to psychology to books to art to nutrition to cooking and coaching (and much, much more), Helwi el-Hayet is here to shed light on the latest trends and to share with you reports, interviews and recipes from Lebanon and the region!
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