Waking Up with Headache


Waking up with a headache can definitely ruin your day. The headache could be in the head, or it might show up in the neck or your scalp, or all three. There are many different types of headaches, which range from mild to severe. You might also have nausea, vomiting, eye pain, muscle tension, see flashing lights, or experience other symptoms that are associated with a bad headache. These headaches are much more common during the early morning hours, as that is the time when your body produces more adrenaline and less endorphins. There are many remedies for reliving the headache.

Causes of Waking Up with Headache

Why are you always waking up with headaches? There are actually many reasons why you might have headaches upon waking. Here are the most common problems that can lead to that early-morning pain.

1. Sinus Headaches

Everyone has sinus passages behind the eyes, cheeks and nose. When these passages become inflamed or irritated, many problems can result, including headaches. These headaches are often much worse when you wake up in the morning, or when you do something that applies more pressure to the area, such as bending over to pick something up from the floor. You might also have a runny nose or sore throat.

2. Medication Overuse Headaches

Over the counter medications and some prescription medications can be great for helping severe headaches, but using too much of these medications can lead to even more headaches. This “rebound” effect is more common with aspirin, acetaminophen, tramadol, narcotic medications and decongestants. Migraine medications and anything that contains caffeine can also lead to rebound headaches.

3. Tension Headaches

Often triggered by stressful situations, anxiety or anger, tension headaches can feel like a strong vise around your head, squeezing to the point of pain. These headaches might also be associated with depression, and are most often at their worst during the early morning hours.

4. Cluster Headaches

Often described as an “alarm clock” because they wake sufferers up during the night or early morning hours, these headaches are also known as some of the worst that anyone can get. Cluster headaches often start suddenly and are over quickly, but they can inflict quite a bit of pain during that time.

5. Sleeping Posture

If you wake up with pain in your back, neck or head, you might be suffering from bad sleeping posture. This is common when you are adjusting to a new bed or pillow, or sleeping in a way that puts stress on your body. This can be avoided by making sure your body is properly aligned during sleep, and that includes a good pillow that is made for your favorite sleeping position.

6. Blood Pressure Problems and Diabetes

Diabetes and hypertension can both cause problems with your blood vessels, and that increased pressure can change the blood flow through your body. The result? Headaches upon waking in the morning, as well as pain in other parts of your body, resulting in headache in the morning, or any point of time during the day and night.

7. Other Causes

There are many other causes of waking up with headache that aren’t quite as common. The following issues might cause headaches in the early morning.



Strange sleep patterns

If you are going to bed late and waking up early, you might suffer from a headache. Our bodies like routine, especially when sleep is concerned, and not getting enough sleep – or getting too much – can lead to problems such as headaches.


If you aren’t drinking enough water, your body is struggling to perform the necessary functions. The result can be aches, pains and headaches.

Grinding teeth

If you clench or grind your teeth in your sleep, that constant tension can lead to severe headaches during the morning hours. The pain might be in your head, but also in your neck and shoulders.

Sleep apnea

Those who have sleep apnea deal with a disturbance in their breathing while they sleep. This depressed breathing leads to the person to wake up, if only for a few seconds, in order to begin breathing properly again. This cycle of waking and sleeping can lead to severe morning headaches.

The following video tells you even more about possible causes of waking up with headache:

Remedies for Waking Up with Headache

When you wake up with a headache, you want to ease it fast before it ruins your day. Here are some ways to relieve the pain.



Apply icy hot patches

These patches have a menthol scent that is soothing, as well as a cool feeling that penetrates your skin and relieves the ache. Put these on your forehead and try to go back to sleep when you wake up with a headache.

Exercise regularly

Though exercise is the last thing you want to do you’re your head hurts, it actually makes sense: when you exercise, your brain releases chemicals that block pain signals and make you feel better. Start slowly with walking, swimming or cycling, because intense exercise can actually lead to more headaches.

Get enough sleep

When you sleep, your body has time to relax. This results in less aches and pains, including less headaches. Get into a routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, and opt for stress-relieving activities that will help you fall asleep.

Avoid excess caffeine

Caffeine not only keeps you awake, it also contributes to irritability and headaches. If you have two cups of coffee a day or more, that caffeine intake might be the culprit.

Quit smoking

One of the worst triggers for headaches is cigarettes. The smoke contains carbon monoxide, which triggers headaches. The nicotine interferes with the liver’s use of medication. And the chemicals in cigarettes can led to many health problems, not just headaches.

For more information on what might relieve your headaches upon waking, this video can help: