Waking up to an aching head is usually attributed to the common hangover or teeth grinding during sleep. However, if it becomes a consistent phenomenon and is ruining the start of your mornings, it may be due to something more complex like a sleep disorder. Sleep medicine physicians say these problems are typically part of the puzzle to chronic headache woes.
But before diving deeper into the possible causes, it is helpful first to identify the type of discomfort or pain you feel in the mornings. Since the head is one of the many complicated parts of the body, these pains may bring about different sensations that stem from various issues. Thus, the types of headaches you may wake up to include:
- Cluster headaches
These headaches entail severe pain on the side of the head, which comes and goes, and often intensifies every time it returns.
Migraines are associated with intense pain and throbbing in a particular location of the head, accompanied by dizziness and nausea.
- Tension-type headaches
Those who experience this type of headache describe it as if their head is being squeezed tight, as it puts more consistent pressure across the entire head, not just in a specific spot. The pain caused typically ranges from mild to intense.
- Hypnic headaches
These rare headaches can strike once or more every night when you are in deep slumber and last until you awaken.
Potential Causes For Morning Headaches
After identifying the type of headaches you get in the morning, the next step is to determine if there is a rhyme or reason to them. Some of the potential causes for it include the following conditions.
1. Insomnia and sleep problems
Headaches and sleep problems are connected in many ways. For one, sleep deprivation increases the risk of developing tension headaches during the day, making it harder to sleep and causing a vicious cycle. A lack of shuteye may also exacerbate other types of headaches. Even if you feel well rested, sleep is not a guaranteed escape from chronic headaches like migraines, as they can also strike during sleep.
On the other extreme, getting too much sleep can also be problematic and cause you headaches. Sometimes, our bodies are not agreeable to us sleeping longer than usual, making us groggy, disrupting our circadian rhythm, and contributing to our headaches. Most of the time, this occurs when your sleep quality is poor despite getting many hours of sleep.
3. Exploding head syndrome
This sleep disorder causes people to hear an imaginary exploding sound, a loud crash, or something similar during the hazy moments between waking and sleeping.
4. Sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is when a person stops breathing on and off for short periods while sleeping, with snoring being its most commonly associated symptom. Headaches caused by sleep apnea are surprisingly common, with people who have them describing it as a pressing pain on both sides of their head and unlike migraines, which are more of a pulsing pain accompanied by other symptoms.
Treating Morning Headaches
Whether your doctor recommends you undergo sleep treatment, you can adopt many lifestyle choices to ensure your mornings no longer start with a terrible headache.
1. Follow a healthy sleep schedule
Although it will take time to adjust to a healthier sleeping schedule, make an effort to go to sleep and wake up at certain times to help relieve chronic headaches.
2. Avoid alcohol
If you take to the drink often and your headache diary points to spirits being the trigger of your constant headaches, tone down your drinking in the evenings. For help with regulating your alcohol consumption, getting a medical consultation with a doctor for the proper resources is best.
3. Stay hydrated and eat a good diet
Ensure you stay hydrated throughout the day and drink plenty of water first thing in the morning. Having a well-balanced and nutritious diet can also help in preventing headaches.
4. Stay on top of your headaches or migraines
Note down everything you can about your morning head pain, such as when they occur and subside and any possible patterns you may observe. This can be as simple as keeping a note on your phone or in a bedside journal.
For relief, it is still a good idea to see a virtual doctor in Singapore, even if you think no underlying conditions are causing your headaches, just to get relief. Healthcare providers can prescribe the recommended treatment options and rule out strained muscles, your diet, medication, or any other triggers for your headache. Otherwise, if they find that your headaches are associated with bruxism, sleep apnea, insomnia, or something else, further treatment will be necessary to address the root cause.
To consult a professional doctor for your chronic headaches, download the MYCLNQ app today and book an online consultation in just a few clicks. Contact us today to learn more details!