Weekly Patterns of Migraine Attacks Show Saturday Is Migraine Peak

Senior woman looking tired while sitting in a living room.
Researchers, using a combination of smartphone applications and web-based surveys, found that participants from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland reported migraines as being prevalent on Saturdays.

When analyzing days of the week, researchers found that participants experience migraine attacks in individual patterns and that Saturdays were the most common day for an attack, according to a study published in Acta Neurologica Scandinavica.

Researchers used the Migraine Radar project, an online tool, to anonymously report and analyze migraine attacks and their patterns both at the individual level and the group level. The International Headache Society’s International Classification of Headache Disorders diagnostic criteria questionnaire was used to diagnose migraines, and participants were included in the study if they experienced 7 migraine attacks over the course of 90 days (but not more than 15 attacks per month for more than 3 months). Baseline data included demographic information and occupation details, and migraine data included day and time of attack, pain location, characteristics, and intensity, as well as accompanying symptoms, attack-aborting tools, and cancellation of activities.

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Of the 1085 participants who reported migraine attacks, 80% were women, and the average age was 43. Many participants showed patterns of attacks, with some common patterns being an increase of attacks throughout the week followed by a rapid decrease, a plateau during the weekdays, or a peak on a single day. Overall, 195 of the 1085 participants experienced more frequent attacks on Saturdays.

Limitations of this study include the inconsistent data collection due to the possibility of participants not reporting every migraine attack, using a questionnaire to diagnose migraines rather than a physician, and not including a general public demographic sample.

The researchers concluded that Saturday migraine peaks do occur, and “the distributions of attacks over the days of the week are highly individual and thus participants with a peak on any other weekday do exist.”


Drescher J, Wogenstein F, Gaul C, et al. Distribution of migraine attacks over the days of the week: preliminary results from a web-based questionnaire [published online January 12, 2019]. Acta Neurol Scand. doi: 10.1111/ane.13065

This article originally appeared on Neurology Advisor