Suffering a headache never made anyone happy. Waking up with a headache, the first thing in the morning is even worse as the day seems to be doomed from the very beginning. It’s terribly unpleasant, but it is not at all uncommon, as probably everyone knows what a headache feels like.
Despite headaches being associated with stress, tension, and tiredness, surprisingly enough, half of the headaches strike not after a busy day when you’re tired, but in the morning hours while you’re still asleep. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize the probability of waking up with one.
So, if you usually wake up with headache and you’d like to learn about its causes and ways to treat it, keep on reading!
Table of Contents
Morning headache causes
To treat a disease or an ailment, you first have to understand its roots. There are quite a few reasons you might end up with a headache, and each person is individual, but headaches usually stem from these sources:
- Sleep apnea
- Sleep bruxism
- Using the wrong pillow
- Adjust the temperature
- Medication overuse
If you often wake up with headache, it’s a possibility that you have insomnia. Insomnia is one of the most common sleep problems. The primary symptom of insomnia is the inability to fall or stay asleep. Difficulty to sleep leads to chronic sleep deprivation. While insomnia is not directly linked to headaches, not getting enough sleep certainly is.
Headache is one of the most common indicators of the body being unwell, while getting enough sleep is one of the few basic necessities to stay healthy. So, constantly not getting enough sleep results in the unpleasant morning headaches.
Sleep apnea and snoring both disturb sleep. Snoring is merely loud breathing while you’re asleep, and sleep apnea is a bit of a more severe disease. Sleep apnea’s common symptom is snoring, but it’s not limited to that only. Those who suffer from sleep apnea may experience breathing disturbance while asleep. It leads to various health issues and might put you at risk of heart diseases.
All this adds up and lowers the quality of your sleep. Not getting a good night’s sleep results in poor overall health and may make the chances of you waking up with a headache get even higher.
Sleep bruxism is a condition that is also known as nocturnal teeth grinding. The main symptom of it is unwilling teeth grinding and jaw clenching while asleep. And it’s a common cause of waking up with a headache.
The causes of it aren’t known, but it is believed to be a result of stress, anxiety, or depression. All these create uneasiness and tension that prevents a person from relaxing, even in their sleep. This way, sleep bruxism occurs.
Grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw aren’t the best things to do if you want to avoid headaches that usually have a lot to do with tension. That’s because it adds unnecessary strain to your jaw muscles and ligaments that closely interact with other head parts. To avoid that, try to do your best to alleviate stress and anxiety in your life.
Using the wrong pillow
If you wake up and ask yourself, “why do I wake up with a headache?” even if you lead a healthy lifestyle and have no sicknesses, you may need to take a look at your sleeping environment. Yes, it may not even be related to your own body, but rather an object that affects your sleep a lot. It’s the pillow and it has to be the right one for many reasons.
The pillow is there to hold your head while you sleep to keep you comfortable, so your muscles don’t have to do the job. Having the wrong one results in tension in your neck muscles this way causing waking up with a headache.
The importance doesn’t end here, wrong or old pillow might be the cause of snoring or even sleep apnea, both the issues that might cause waking up with a headache. Just right head elevation is needed to prevent them both, so it’s essential to check if the pillow suits your needs.
To find the right one, you may need to figure out what suits you best. Think of the firmness, your sleeping position, your preferred pillow stuffing and many more. To help you with that, we have an overview of the best pillows out there.
Probably everyone who has consumed an excessive amount of alcohol at least once has noticed that the state you wake up in after a fun night out isn’t as great as it could be. But a few know the real causes of hangover and the headache it brings with itself.
Waking up with a headache after drinking is mostly caused by dehydration. Alcohol is known to be a diuretic. And that means that it dehydrates your body quicker than it would dehydrate naturally. That’s mainly because alcohol contains chemicals that inhibit the production of a hormone called vasopressin. That makes the liquids you consumed go straight to the bladder instead of being used for hydration by the body.
Dehydration affects the brain, and your blood vessels a lot. Being dehydrated causes headaches that you will most likely wake up with if you drink a little too much the night before.
If you usually wake up with headache, your headache is persistent, and you can’t find any probable causes for it, you may have a migraine. The main difference it has from the usual headache is that it’s reoccurring and is a disease by itself that might be worsened by some aspects, but it functions by itself.
Half of the migraines strike in the morning hours between 4:00 and 9:00 AM, so waking up with a headache is probable if you have a migraine. If you think you might have it try to examine whether your headache is persistent and comes with other symptoms such as dizziness or vision impairment, as they’re common signs of a migraine, to see if it might be it.
If you believe you might have it, you should consult your doctor. Migraines are thought not to be curable permanently, but there are plenty of ways to alleviate the symptoms with medicine.
Medication overuse headache
It’s not often thought about, but taking a lot of medicines can definitely affect your head and cause a headache. That’s because most of the drugs taken daily are in one way or another highly addictive. The body is used to medicine affecting it and alleviating the symptoms it might experience.
If like most medicine, it’s taken in the morning, during the night, the effect fully wears off as the body gets ready for the new dose. The physical dependence and the effects of the drugs constantly affect the brain during the night. Your body using up all the components of the medicine may trigger a headache.
How to avoid waking up with a headache?
If you googled something along the lines of “why do I wake up with a headache?” you must also want to know how to prevent it. It’s pretty self-explanatory that waking up with a headache is unpleasant, and you’d like to avoid that. So here are a few ways to do that.
- Regulate your sleep
- Try to relax before sleep
- Invest in a better mattress and pillow
- Avoid alcohol
- Mind your medicines
- Adjust the temperature
- Take care of snoring
Regulate your sleep
As you must already know, headaches occur when your body isn’t functioning properly. For it to work fine, you need to take care of it. Sleep and rest are basic necessities required to remain healthy.
Consulting doctors to treat your sleeping disorders, if you have any, can do wonders. The most common ones are insomnia and sleep apnea. They both interfere with getting proper rest and reduce your sleep quality, which results in headaches. So try to take care of that.
Having done that, try to make sure you sleep enough. The minimum required amount of sleep for adults is 7 hours, although it might not be enough for everyone. And also, try to sleep regularly. Having a sleep routine has an amazing impact on sleep quality.
Try to get relaxed before sleep
It’s not necessarily insomnia that’s keeping you awake; it could be anxiety or depression. Studies show that those who suffer from these two mental disorders are more prone to headaches and lower quality of sleep.
It can also result in hypertension and cause sleep bruxism. Being tense mentally also shows physical symptoms; one of them is nightly teeth gritting. To avoid that causing waking up with a headache, you should try to get relaxed before bed.
There are plenty of ways to do it. They include meditation, a relaxing bath, diary writing, reading, or any other activity that helps you unwind. So to avoid waking up with a headache, make sure your before sleep routine doesn’t include any stressful tasks.
Invest in a better mattress and pillow
If you suffer from waking up with headaches, make sure you’re not tense from easily avoidable things such as bad body position when you’re asleep. Poorly chosen mattress may actually induce a morning headache. Those who suffer from soreness and tension could benefit from a memory foam mattress that could relieve that.
Another sleep accessory that might influence the morning headaches even more, is a pillow. That’s because it’s in contact with your neck and, poorly chosen, it could put a strain on your sleeping posture. Try to look for the right pillow for yourself, depending on whether you’re a side-sleeper or a back-sleeper.
One of the easiest ways to prevent waking up with a headache, if it’s due to a hangover, is simply not consuming alcohol. And not drinking is a 100% proven fool-proof method to avoid a hangover! Although some may not be ready to give up drinking altogether.
If you’re one of those people, make sure you limit your intake.
Alcohol enjoyed in moderation isn’t as bad as pushing your limits and blacking out every Friday night. A glass or two instead of 5 of your favorite drink is undoubtedly better for your health. Try not to over-indulge if you don’t enjoy waking up with headaches.
Another critical thing to do to not have to answer the question of “why do I wake up with a headache?” while consuming alcohol is staying hydrated. A couple of glasses of water in between alcoholic drinks is sure to help you stay hydrated and feel a bit better the next morning.
Mind your medicines
If you’re taking any medication daily, it could be the cause of waking up with headaches every day. The physical dependence on drugs, if taken daily for a prolonged period, is more than probable. Not keeping up the exact same dose in your organism may lead to headaches.
That could be avoided. Talk to your doctor if you think it could a cause for waking up with a headache. Your doctor might be able to find a better suiting medicine or at least help you manage the effects the current one has on you.
Adjust the temperature
It’s commonly known that you sleep better when you’re cool. Try to make sure your bedroom temperature isn’t too warm for comfort. This way, you’ll fall asleep easier. Not only does it help you to sleep, but cooler air also helps to prevent headaches.
If you’re prone to overheating while you sleep, you might want to find a mattress that prevents that. Try looking into latex mattresses as they ‘re known to be the best for staying cool during sleep.
Take care of snoring
Everyone likes to breathe, right? Ok, we all know it’s the most basic necessity that we wouldn’t survive without. Incorrect intake of oxygen has a lot to do with headaches, and it gets disrupted due to snoring.
While snoring in itself is harmless as it’s only loud breathing while asleep, the causes of it are at fault. It’s caused by blocked airways. That prevents you from breathing normally and also disturbs your sleep. Take care of snoring and you might be able to get rid of your morning headaches.
Waking up with a headache can be unpleasant. It affects your mood and your well-being. There are quite a few different causes for it, including diseases like sleep apnea, sleep bruxism, or a migraine. But it can also be caused by hangovers, overusing medicine, or even using a wrong pillow.
To prevent that, you should try your best to remain healthy: avoid alcohol, make sure it’s not the medicine that’s causing headaches, and regulate your sleep. You should also try to unwind a little before sleep, adjust the temperature in your bedroom, or maybe invest in a higher quality mattress to sleep better.