There’s nothing worse than waking up and knowing within a few seconds that not all is well with our body. It could be a cold, it could be body soreness, or it could be a headache. The latter, headaches, is arguably the most frustrating condition to wake up with. With a cold or body soreness, we can at least trace the source of the issue, and know how to manage it. With a headache, we’re relatively clueless. They seem to come from nowhere, and who knows how long they’ll last? However, we do have some information about what can cause a person to wake up with a headache. We take a look at some common causes below.
You wake up with a headache because You’re Prone to Migraines
If you’re prone to getting migraines, then you’ll be much more likely to wake up with a banging head than the average person. A huge percentage–50%–of migraines occur in the early hours of the morning, from 4am to 9am . This has much to do with the quality of our sleep, which has a large influence on early morning headaches. As such, it’s important that you’re figuring out what causes your migraines, and then taking steps to cut them out of your life. While there are things you can do to stop a migraine once it has begun, it’s much better to prevent them from taking hold in the first place. You can do this by keeping a ‘migraine diary,’ which is a record of when they happen, what you’d been doing/eating/drinking and so forth, and then looking for any common threads between the attacks. This will identify your triggers, and you’ll know what you should be cutting out.
You wake up with a headache because you have Sleeping Issues
One reason why people get headaches in the morning is because of the poor quality of their sleep . In order to be at our best, we need to have a full night’s rest under your belt. Without it, we’ll be more likely to wake up with a headache—and they may also feel worse, depending on how long your bad night’s sleep has been going on; it can lower our pain threshold, which can make the pain feel worse than it otherwise would. To prevent morning head pain from becoming a regular occurrence, it’s important to identify what’s causing your sleep problems. For example, it may be that your sleeping routine isn’t conducive to a night of rest. If you’re using your smartphone or tablet until the moment you want to fall asleep, you may find it difficult to fall asleep . Other common sources of poor sleep are caffeine intake (you should limit any caffeine drinks around 4pm) and noise pollution from outside.
You wake up with a headache because you’re Feeling Stressed
People who suffer from insomnia are much more likely to suffer from morning headaches than those who do not suffer from the condition. If you’re having trouble sleeping, then it could be because you’re suffering from depression and anxiety, of which insomnia is a symptom. A study published in 2016 highlighted a correlation between headaches and mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
While it’s often important to manage these conditions with medication, the same study highlighted that some headaches were induced by the overuse of medication. If your conditions are mild, and don’t necessarily require medication (but do affect the quality of your sleep), then you can look at alleviating the symptoms through lifestyle changes. Meditation, yoga, exercise, and time spent in the outdoors have all been shown to lower the symptoms of depression and anxiety. For instance, in order to get a good night’s sleep, our mind needs to be calm and free from worries. Of course, we don’t always know that we’re in the middle of a stressful situation. But if you’re having issues falling asleep, and you’re suffering from headaches as a result, you may want to analyze whether there’s something under the surface that’s causing you problems.
You wake up with a headache because of Late Nights
If you’ve ever had one drink too many, then you’ll likely have woken up the following morning wishing that you had cut the night early, at a reasonable hour. But what exactly is the relationship between alcohol and headaches?
Alcohol causes headaches in not just one way, but two. Ethanol, the main ingredient in alcohol, is a vasodilator, which can give some people headaches on its own. For everyone else, there’s the issue of alcohol being a diuretic. It encourages the body to get rid of some of those good things that we need, such as vitamins, minerals, and salt. Once they’ve been excreted, we’re left dehydrated, which can cause headaches. The primary issue here is that most of us fall asleep (because most of us drink at night), and we don’t have the opportunity to top up our hydration levels. We lose a lot of fluid when we’re asleep anyway, but it’s maximized when we’re drinking alcohol.
The best way to prevent from waking up with an alcohol-induced headache is to avoid drinking alcohol. But that’s not always desirable. The next best method is to drink water in between drinks, so that your hydration levels never dip too low, and make sure you’re fully hydrated before you go to bed.
You wake up with a headache because of a Poor Sleeping Environment
Our body is going to react to our natural environment, even if our conscious mind doesn’t. You might feel comfortable and at home in your bedroom, but there are no guarantees that it’s as good for your body as you might think. Tension headaches are one type of headache. They’re not as bad as other types, but you still don’t want to wake up with one. The good news is that, they’re influenced by our surroundings, which are under our control. For example, an uncomfortable pillow or sleeping in a room that’s too cold can cause a tension headache. If you’re routinely waking up with this type of pain, then look at changing up your sleeping environment. A pillow that’s more suited to your body and sleeping style might just make all the difference.
You wake up with a headache because you’re Grinding Your Teeth
Part of the problem of waking up with a headache is that we’ve been unconscious for the past several hours. We can’t identify what may have caused the headache, because it’s impossible to know unless we’ve filmed ourselves asleep or have an attentive partner. Take grinding your teeth, for example. It can cause a series of problems, including headaches, but you may go years without realizing that this is causing the problems. If you’re waking up with a dull headache, then speak to your dentist about signs of bruxism, the technical term for teeth grinding. If that is the issue, then you can take steps to prevent it from happening, which includes wearing a mouth guard, practising good sleeping habits, and taking steps to reduce stress.
You wake up with a headache because of Diet Issues
There’s no hard and fast scientific understanding of what causes headaches and migraines, but the answer may lie in part in a person’s diet. If you’re waking up with headaches routinely, take steps to find a diet that may help keep the problem at bay. It may be the food you’re eating before you go to bed that’s causing the problem.
You’re Not Hydrated
Finally, remember that many headaches are caused by one thing: dehydration. Though scientists aren’t entirely sure why it’s the case, they know that it is the case. Therefore, if you take steps to keep your hydration levels topped up, you’ll increase your chances of waking up with a clear head.