Why do I wake up with a headache?

To avoid the morning headache, it is essential to know its possible triggers. In case it is very recurrent or does not respond to these patterns, we should consult with a specialist. The headache is an uncomfortable nuisance at any time of the day. The causes can vary, as well as the way in which it affects us (getting up with a migraine is one of the worst ways to face a workday, for example).

Therefore, and to resolve your doubts, we will tell you in this article the reasons why the morning headache can occur.

Why does my head hurt when I get up?

If when you wake up in the morning you feel as if you have a drum beating hard on your temples, you are dizzy or you cannot even open your eyes, the main thing would be to consult a doctor.

Sometimes it happens that, despite taking analgesics, the pain does not always subside and there are many cases in which it persists throughout the day. The most common causes of morning headache are:

Inflammation of the nasal passages

When swelling occurs behind the nose, eyes, and cheeks (front of the head) and we lift forward at the alarm clock, the result can be a horrible headache.

In those cases, the allergy or infection causing the sinus swelling needs to be treated to reduce associated symptoms.

Sleep apnea

This condition is broadly defined as “mild respiratory arrest” while we are sleeping.

As the brain does not receive oxygen in those seconds, when we wake up, we are likely to have a headache. The signs that reveal apnea can be dull circles under the eyes and excessive fatigue (even if we go to bed early).

If we sleep with someone, we can ask them if we snore or if they have noticed anything unusual during the night, as this can be an additional sign to this problem.

Sleep disturbances

Emotional factors such as stress, everyday worries or anxiety can affect the quality of sleep. Many people go to bed very late and get up too early (the “regulatory” 8 hours are not met) and this affects the quality of sleep.

Negative emotions and recurring nightmares can also cause migraines, as well as distraction from external noises or lights (running water, street light, television on, snoring, etc.). This contributes to not resting properly and the next day, risking a headache.

Muscle tension

If we don’t get enough sleep; we have suffered a  contracture or we spend the night in an incorrect posture; We suffer from nightmares or insomnia, among others, the muscles of the neck and shoulders can become tight, pressing on the skull and causing a headache.

You must use a pillow and a mattress suited to not only better rest, but also fully support the spine vertebral and especially cervical.

Medication excess

Basically, drugs designed precisely to relieve headaches. When pain occurs two or more times a week, it is common to resort to medications (prescription or over-the-counter).

The overuse of painkillers can cause an adverse effect. This means that the same medications could cause the pain in the morning.


It is good to remember that during the night you do not consume liquids or food. Although the body is not in motion as during the daylight hours, it also needs to hydrate.

When we do not drink enough water, the blood vessels located in the head contract to balance the levels of fluid in the body. This makes it difficult for oxygen to get into the blood and can cause headaches.

Grinding teeth

The bruxism is a very common condition in children (although it also occurs to a lesser extent in adults) and is popularly known as “teeth grinding” or jaw clenching to sleep.

This unconscious habit leads to tensing the jaw muscles and negatively impacting the head, which can lead to pain and discomfort when standing up.

Wrong posture

One of the most common mistakes when sleeping and that affects how we get up in the morning is sleeping in an unnatural position.

This means that, if we sleep “rolled up” or in a strange way, the next day in  addition to hurting our head, our back, neck, shoulders, etc. will hurt.

Avoid lowering your head and try sleeping on your back or side. Try not to sleep on your stomach. Do not forget that a proper posture of both the head and the back, helps the blood circulate correctly and prevents morning pain.

Blood pressure and diabetes

Both conditions can trigger migraines in the mornings. This is because, in both, the blood vessels dilate, the pressure of the blood flow increases and the muscles tense, impacting on the head.

Orientation of the bed?

We refer to the teachings of feng shui. According to this oriental philosophy, the bed must always be oriented towards the north, in order to promote rest and relaxation during the night. This is believed to have a “scientific” reason: the magnetism exerted by the center of the earth, which acts like a magnet on us. However, there are no studies to support these claims.

Restless legs

This syndrome is described as an uncontrollable urge to move the lower limbs.

It is one of the causes of sleep disturbance, as it causes muscle spasms and keeps the brain constantly awake. It could lead to a headache upon waking, although there is no specific evidence in this regard.

If, in addition to the headache in the morning, you suffer from nausea, vomiting or blurred vision, we recommend that you visit a doctor. It could be another kind of problem.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top