In our adult life, many have experienced a headache after waking up from a night’s sleep. Once in a while that happens because of a poor night’s sleep, or maybe going through some stressful things, or for some they experience it regularly.
Headaches can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as a change in your body’s physiology when the body’s level of internal pain reduction may be lowered. During this time, your body will naturally produce more adrenaline therefore causing a migraine headache. For those who get migraines, it usually will happen between 4~9 a.m., and when that happens up to 50% of them will have disturbed sleep.
Statistics show that 1 in 13 people will experience early morning headaches. And for those who lacks quality sleep or with sleep disorders will have a higher chance of early morning headaches. Those with sleep disorders have 2-8 times more likelihood of getting an early morning headaches.
There are a variety of causes of early morning headaches with varying types of pain including: dull, sharp, or throbbing pain. Headaches lasts for an hour or less or even a prolonged period up to a few days. Some causes of morning headaches includes:
Insomnia that includes one's sleep pattern (waking during sleep/ restless sleep), sleep deprivation, and unable to sleep.
Depression or anxiety is a leading cause of chronic morning headaches. Mental health conditions is also another leading cause to insomnia that further increases your risk of morning headaches.
Snoring or sleep apnea are possible causes of disrupted sleep and can cause early morning headaches. But these two items may not have a direct correlation to one another. Snoring can be an independent condition or a symptom of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition that causes one to stop breathing at times throughout the night during sleep. One of the characteristics from sleep apnea headaches is that is usually lasts for 30 minutes or less. However, sleep apnea is treatable.
Caffeine withdrawal is a common occurrence these days and usually happens to those who regularly have their dose of daily coffee. Caffeine impacts the blood flow to the brain and without having the daily dose it will cause a neurological side effects similar to withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. These headaches are usually raging and will come first thing in the morning. And to prevent caffeine withdrawal headache, wean yourself off coffee slowly (i.e. take de-caffeinated coffee).
Grinding your teeth (bruxism) occurs at night as a sleep disorder (also linked to sleep apnea) that can cause morning headaches. Additionally it may cause damaged teeth and jaw pain. Fortunately, it is easily treatable with a mouth guard, stress reduction techniques, or behavior changes. This type of headache is generally dull in nature and felt near one’s temples.
Strained muscles in one’s neck as a result of sleep position and or the pillow used can cause morning headaches. Correction of this is to change the pillow used to sleep. Pillows are meant to sustain your posture for your spine during sleep, and the proper pillow should mimic one’s proper standing position. With the proper pillow, that should help alleviate strained muscles and prevent morning headaches.
Medication or alcohol use can interrupt one’s sleep patterns causing early morning headaches. If one suspect their medication is causing early morning headaches, please consult with their physician.
Other health conditions can also cause early morning headaches. An example of that would be hypertension or musculoskeletal diseases. Discuss with your physician about your health conditions.
Pending on the cause of headaches there are different ways to treat it. Some of the treatments are things that can be easily remedied and tried before seeing a physician. Some tips to try before seeing a physician includes:
*getting enough sleep (between 7~8 hours a night for adults)
*sleeping and rising at consistent times
*sleeping in a conducive environment
*reducing screen time right before bed
If there are underlying causes to your headache, treating the condition should help reduce the frequency of early morning headaches. Finding the root of the cause will help mitigate the situation, and changing lifestyle (even as far as keeping a balanced nutrition) can help with early morning headaches. But if these changes are done and the the early morning headaches still linger, then please consult your physician as soon as possible. Sleep is detrimental to one’s health.