Early Morning Headaches: Types, Causes & Treatments
7 Minute Read

Everything You Need To Know About Morning Headaches

HealthyStripe's Editorial Team
5 January 2022

Have you been waking up in morning with headaches? While they can easily go away with a painkiller, it’s crucial to understand the underlying cause of why they happen. 

Also, painkillers are not great for your body in the long run, which makes it essential to find the cause and treat it with a harmless treatment.

Morning headaches can trouble you enough to wake you up before your alarm goes off. At times, they occur right after you wake up and ruin your morning routine. The consequence of that is visible on a bad day. 

Why does it happen? What to do to avoid that? We’ll answer all your questions in this article today!

Types of Morning Headaches

1) Tension headaches:

The most common sort of headache is a tension one. It can produce mild or severe pain in the area around your eyes, as well as in your head and neck. 

Have you ever had a headache from spending too much time in front of a computer screen? Tension headaches cause that kind of discomfort.

Cold temperatures and dehydration can trigger tension headaches. And these triggers are likely to happen late at night.

2) Migraines

Migraine is a neurological disorder that causes severe, incapacitating headaches. Along with the headaches, you may feel nausea, vomiting, numbness, and light and sound sensitivity.

The most prevalent site of migraine pain is the forehead. The condition normally affects one side of the head, however, it might affect both sides or shift.

Most migraine bouts last roughly four hours.

3) Cluster headaches:

Cluster headaches are excruciatingly painful headaches that come in clusters. You go through times of headache attacks followed by intervals of headache-free time.

Cluster headaches usually strike out of nowhere. Before they start, you may experience flashes of light.

These headaches usually start a few hours after you fall asleep and are unpleasant enough to wake you up, but they can also start while you are awake.

If you notice waking up with a headache on the right side only, or left side only, it’s probably a cluster headache. 

4) Hypnic headaches:

Hypnic headache (HH) is an uncommon headache disorder that only occurs when sleeping. It is usually at the same time each night. Also known as the clockwise headache or alarm clock headache in the past, it is dull or throbbing head pain you want to avoid. 

If you experience headaches and nausea in the morning with sensitivity to sound and light, you may have hypnic headaches. 

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Causes Of Early Morning Headaches 

1) Sleeping Disorders

Disorders like insomnia or sleep apnea can lead to poor sleep or no sleep at all, for nights in a row. This has consequences as morning headaches.

Insomnia can disrupt your sleep patterns and leave you feeling sleep-deprived. 

Sleep apnea is a condition in which you stop breathing for moments during the night. This disrupts your sleep cycle and makes it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. 

Snoring and waking up with a dry mouth are common indicators of sleep apnea, so don’t take it lightly if someone informs, you snore at night. Poor sleep can cause headaches, which last around 30 minutes.  

Also Read: Keto Insomnia: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

2) Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJD) can cause jaw pain and stiffness, along with headaches. The exact reason behind these problems is unknown, but they arise when the TMJ fails. This is the hinge that allows you to talk, chew food, open your mouth, and move your jaw from side to side.

Such a disorder can also cause bruxism. This is when you start grinding your teeth. Sleep bruxism can also trigger headaches.

3) Tumor

It is not uncommon for people with brain tumors to experience morning headaches. But if you have a brain tumor, you will also notice symptoms like seizures, weakness, vomiting, paralysis, and difficulty with speech.

4) Lifestyle Issues

One of the significant causes of headaches is hangovers. When you drink, the alcohol causes your body to produce extra pee, potentially dehydrating you. 

Dizziness, thirst, and a racing heart are all symptoms of dehydration. These symptoms might contribute to a lack of sleep and, as a result, headaches. Also, drinking causes your blood vessels to dilate, which can induce headaches.

Apart from knowing how to overcome an alcohol hangover, you should also take care of how you sit at work or the position you sleep in. Wrong posture can cause strained muscles, which can keep you in pain, therefore, keeping you from sleeping.

5) Medications

Medications might cause sleep disruption and early morning headaches if they interfere with your sleep patterns.

Beta-blocker therapy, for example, causes intense dreams and even nightmares in some people. Additionally, several medicines used to treat sleep disturbances, such as benzodiazepines, can cause or exacerbate headaches.

Treatment For Morning Headaches (With Home Remedies)

1) Avoid alcohol and coffee during bedtime.

Both alcohol and coffee can dehydrate if taken in large amounts. They are not good for you, especially during bedtime, because they can disrupt your sleep with stimulation and symptoms like dizziness. Lack of sleep and dehydration are both causes of headaches.

2) Exercise

You can do some exercises in bed to help relax your strained muscles or calm down your excited nerves. Both can otherwise keep you awake with pain or anxiety, thus triggering headaches in the morning.

3) Meditate

Meditation is another technique for relaxation you should try, especially if you suffer from any sleep disorders. You may find no better home remedy.

4) Replace your fluids.

A night is long enough to lead to dehydration headaches. But making sure you have had enough electrolytes like magnesium through electrolyte foods or drinks before bedtime will ensure you don’t wake up dehydrated.

5) CPAP machine

Your doctor may recommend you to use a CPAP machine if you suffer from sleep apnea.

6) Mouthguard

Your doctor may tell you to use a mouth guard if you suffer from teeth grinding or clenching during sleep.

7) Reduce medications if you can. 

Since medications are a primary cause of headache in the morning, avoid them as much as possible. Try to take Ayurvedic painkillers like turmeric instead of pills. Even drinks rich in antioxidants can help. 

In case you take medicines for a chronic condition like diabetes. Consult your doctor to see if your dose can get reduced. 

8) Try to have a consistent bedtime routine. 

Not having a regular bedtime schedule can disrupt your circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle). This can end up causing insomnia or anxiety. By keeping a good schedule, you help your body have high-quality sleep every night and thus get rid of a primary trigger of headaches.

9) Take vitamin B foods.

B vitamins are water-soluble micronutrients that serve a variety of functions in the body. They aid in creating neurotransmitters and the conversion of food to energy. But they also help prevent headaches.

According to research, several B vitamin supplements like riboflavin (B2), B12, and pyridoxine (B6) help improve headache symptoms.

So, add some vitamin B foods to your diet and you will find relief from your pain.

10) Try a new pillow or sleeping position.

There doesn’t have to be something serious, like a disease or sleeping disorder causing your headaches. Probably your body is just not comfortable with the pillow, mattress that you use, or your sleeping position. Try changing these and see if you find relief from your headaches.

Bottom Line

There you have it – everything you must know about this condition. We have explained why you may be waking up groggy with headaches – the causes.

We also helped you understand the types of these headaches and any morning headache treatments that you may even try at home. 

Which treatment option are you going along with? Comment below!

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