morning headaches

What Can A Morning Headache Indicate?

Numerous factors can cause morning headaches. They could show up occasionally after a terrible night of sleep or when you’re stressed, or they might happen every day.

Headaches in the early hours of the morning might frequently cause you to wake up after four in the morning or within the first few minutes of awakening.

Early morning hours are also a time for headaches brought on by sleep apnea. According to one study, one in five individuals with sleep apnea experienced morning headaches. A relatively frequent type of headache, migraine attacks typically happen in the early morning.

Headaches, particularly migraines, can result from sleep problems. According to recent studies, insomnia can cause migraine attacks and act as a risk factor for later-on migraine sickness. More frequent and more severe headaches, which can occasionally develop into chronic migraines, are linked to sleep disruptions.

More frequent and severe headaches have been related in studies to sleep disturbances such insomnia and poor sleep quality. About half of those who get headaches or migraines also experience sleeplessness.

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What are the types of early morning headaches?

The headache may be dull, sharp or throbbing. The duration of the headache can also vary significantly. There are about 150 types of headaches.

Those known to occur frequently in the early morning hours are:

  • migraine
  • cluster headache
  • hypnotic headache
  • tension headache
  • paroxysmal hemicrania

Causes of morning headaches

Here are some conditions and factors that can cause early morning headaches:


Insomnia can affect sleep patterns and cause sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep is the most common cause of morning headaches and can trigger migraines. Insomnia can be treated in different ways. The first step is to discuss it with your doctor.

Depression or anxiety

According to research, mood disorders and migraine attacks frequently co-occur, and the presence of one raises the likelihood of the other. For instance, a person is more prone to experience mood disorders the more frequently they experience migraine attacks, and vice versa.

According to authoritative scientific research, people with migraines are 2.5 times more likely to experience depression than those without it, and they are between 2 and 5 times more likely to acquire anxiety problems. Numerous mental health conditions can cause sleeplessness, which might raise the chance of morning headaches.

Sleep apnea

Disturbed sleep caused by snoring or sleep apnea can be a source of early morning headaches. Snoring can be an independent condition or a symptom of apnea. Sleep apnea causes interruptions in breathing periodically throughout the night. Generally, headaches associated with sleep apnea last about 30 minutes.

Teeth grinding

The term “bruxism” refers to the clenching or grinding of teeth. This illness may manifest itself as a sleep problem at night. Although bruxism is frequently linked to morning headaches, it is unclear from studies whether this association is true. Some scientists think that temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems in the jaw may be the true cause of headaches connected to bruxism.

The headache that results from bruxism is typically mild and concentrated close to the temples. Additionally, bruxism has been connected to other sleep problems including sleep apnea and can harm teeth and create jaw pain.

Stretching of the neck muscles

A headache in the early hours of the morning can be the result of a strained neck muscle. Pillows should help maintain a sleeping position that properly supports the neck and spine. The pillow should hold the head and neck in a position similar to the position when you are standing.

Hangover and alcohol

Early morning headaches can be the result of (abuse) alcohol use. Heavy alcohol consumption can lead to inadequate sleep and early morning headaches. The amount of alcohol that will cause a hangover varies from person to person.

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders

A headache that frequently occurs first thing in the morning could be caused by the jaw. One of the temporomandibular joint disorder’s (TMJ) most often reported symptoms is headache (TMJ). Headaches can also result from TMJ issues, which can also cause jaw pain, stiffness, and clicking. These problems are brought on by a dysfunctional TMJ, albeit their exact origin is uncertain. You can speak, chew food, and open your mouth thanks to this joint, which joins the jaw.


Medications can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to sleep disturbances and early morning headaches. Talk to your doctor if you suspect that medications are causing early morning headaches. Some medications used to treat headaches can cause sleep disturbances. Also, some medications, such as benzodiazepines, used to treat sleep disorders, can cause or worsen headaches.

Too much sleep

Early morning headaches might also be brought on by getting too much sleep. Although the precise cause of this is unknown, it is generally accepted that disruptions in the brain’s neuronal networks and circadian rhythm are to blame.

By restoring your natural sleep-wake cycle by going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at roughly the same time most days of the week, you can avoid morning headaches that are brought on by oversleeping.

Other diseases

Other illnesses can also cause morning headaches. Hypertension (high blood pressure) and musculoskeletal disorders can also result in chronic morning headaches. Make sure to discuss any symptoms you experience with your doctor.

Did you know that one of the most typical causes of headaches is dehydration? When we become thirsty, it may be a sign that we are already dehydrated. Because of this, you should always consume two liters of water per day.

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