Tips For Better Sleep

5 Reasons You’re Waking Up With A Headache

July 28, 2021   By Jennifer Cook

You’ve likely had that feeling; you wake up in the morning and start feeling your head throbbing. Morning headaches aren’t unusual, and it happens to many people. They are usually tied to sleep disorders and problems, and we discuss them thoroughly in this article.

Finding out why these headaches occur is essential in adjusting your lifestyle and considering possible treatments for sleeping problems.

Addressing the causes of your morning headaches would allow you to enjoy a good night’s sleep, and you can wake up feeling better every morning.

You Might Be Suffering from Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that can potentially threaten one’s health – it causes a person to have interruptions in breathing during sleep.

People suffering from obstructive sleep apnea experience a partial collapse of the throat muscle during sleep, interrupting a healthy flow of oxygen to the respiratory system.

The lack of oxygen from the intermittent absence of breathing can raise the carbon dioxide levels in your blood and increase pressure on your head. 

Such occurrence is a proven cause of morning headaches.

Some common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea to look out for are loud snoring, dry mouth feeling, and pauses in breathing during your sleep. 

If you sleep with a companion in the room, let them observe your snoring patterns and listen for anything unusual in how you snore.

Sleep labs are also common in hospitals, where you would be hooked up to machines and observed for obvious signs of sleep apnea.

If your sleep apnea causes chronic headaches, your sleep specialist may prescribe you a continuous positive airway pressure machine or more commonly known as CPAP.

A CPAP machine might feel unusual to use initially, but ensuring that you breathe well during sleep helps you eliminate those morning headaches. 

Teeth Grinding at Night

The occurrence of teeth grinding or teeth clenching may sound like a simple habit that some people exhibit during their sleep, but this causes tension in your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). 

Strains in the joint can change your jaw’s positioning, which can cause a localized feeling of pain in your head. 

Most teeth grinders or people with bruxism may not realize that these occur as they sleep. 

Some signs of bruxism to watch out for are irregularities in your teeth, such as flattening or fracturing the teeth. 

People with bruxism may also feel unexplainable ear and tooth pain, headaches felt mostly near the ears, and frequent morning headaches.

Visiting a dentist can address the issue of teeth grinding. Your dentist would fit you with a mouthguard to alleviate the effects of grinding during sleep.

Your Morning Headaches Can Be Migraines

The pulsating, throbbing pain sensation that occurs mid-day or early morning is a classic sign of migraines. Some severe headaches caused by migraines lead to nausea and, in some cases, vomiting.

People with migraines may experience head pain during sleep, which causes them to wake up often at night – leading to poor sleep quality.

The sleep deprivation caused by migraines can lead to tension headaches in the morning and may manifest at any time of the day.

Migraine headaches are mostly genetic, but the common causes of migraine triggers are stress, not having enough sleep, lack of general health care, and poor diet.

While there’s no exact cure, migraine headaches are manageable; improving your sleep habits and pattern can usually help reduce episodes.

The wrong pillow can also lead to migraine and headaches, especially for side and back sleepers. In fact, even side sleepers aren’t in the clear. If you’re one of those suffering from headaches after sleeping, the best pillow for you should be one that contours to your preferred sleeping position.

You Might Be Intoxicated

Alcohol-Related Intoxication

We’ve all had that one night when we had a little too much to drink; what comes next is expected – a hangover. 

Consuming alcoholic drinks raises blood-alcohol levels, which creates a diuretic effect, or makes your body urinate more than usual. 

Increased urination leads to your body dehydrating faster than usual, which often translates into headaches.

Likewise, alcohol intoxication disrupts normal sleep patterns during different cycles of your slumber. Sleeping while inebriated may lead you to experience more REM sleep than deep sleep, taking away the relaxing feeling of a good night’s rest.

Controlling your alcohol intake, and hydrating before you sleep after a night out can help avoid sleep problems. 

Too Much Use of Pain Medication/Drugs

Overusing drugs, such as painkillers, may also lead to a medication overuse headache or MOH. 

Some sufferers of headaches tend to intake more pain medication than usual, which can be counterintuitive.

Being intoxicated with excessive drugs can lead to a morning headache more than just having a night of deep sleep.

Excessive Caffeine Intake

If it isn’t obvious enough, people who intake caffeine excessively are at high risk of developing sleeping problems. The irregularity of sleep caused by caffeine intake is also a common cause of your early morning headache.

Reducing the amount of coffee you consume in a day or avoiding consuming caffeine too close to bedtime can help you sleep better and lead to a better feeling in the morning.

We recommend gradually reducing caffeine intake, as suddenly stopping may lead to caffeine withdrawal symptoms. 

You Could Have a Lot of Sleep Disturbances

A good night’s sleep can be achieved when you have the right conditions—a dark room, with a comfortable, cool temperature and minimal noise.

Taking away any of those things can lead to a disrupted or uncomfortable sleep that can wake you up with a headache.

Apart from the sleeping environment, sleeping conditions can also contribute to your sleep’s overall comfort.

In some cases, a headache may come from the use of the wrong kind of pillow. Pillows that don’t support your head based on your body requirements can cause strain and pressure to your neck and shoulders.

The pain caused by muscle tension in the shoulders and stiffness of the neck can give off headaches in the morning. It can also lead to back pain and a stiff neck. That’s why choosing the correct type of pillow matters—a lot.

Pillows designed with ergonomics in mind – such as the Ecosa Pillow, would quickly ease the burdens of poor sleep from poor head support.

Using the Ecosa Memory Foam Pillow allows for the most comfort for your neck, and the adjustable pillow height fits your needs. This pillow is also breathable and can fit all sleeping positions. That means it’s the right pillow for all sleepers, as its ergonomic design allows for maintaining excellent sleep posture, which means no neck pain and cluster headaches for you!

Final Thoughts

There are various reasons why you get different types of headaches in the morning, and knowing what causes your morning headaches is always the first step to managing it and a good step toward better sleep.

If your headaches continually bother you, do not hesitate to seek medical advice. Aside from a visit to the doctor, pain relief and wellness can also be had by choosing the best mattress for your needs, a supportive pillow for spinal alignment and targeting your health conditions, and back and neck support.

While this guide may pinpoint your problems, it is still not a replacement for a proper medical assessment.

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