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Five Reasons You Wake Up With a Headache in the AM

Five Reasons You Wake Up With a Headache in the AM

Waking up to a headache isn’t anyone’s idea of a beautiful start to a new day. Unfortunately, as you don’t know the cause, all you can do is treat the symptoms. The worst part is taking medicine to treat a headache may actually do just the opposite. Ironically, you may have nothing more to worry about than finding the right pillow or treating your allergies. Either way, the only way you’re going to wake up with a smile again is to find and treat the cause.

Pillow Pain

Finding just the right pillow is a pain in the neck – literally. Simply put, a lack of proper support for your neck and shoulders causes muscle tension. Imagine that muscle tension building over seven or eight hours thanks to the wrong pillow. The end result is a nasty tension headache first thing in the morning. Too much support, putting your head and neck at an odd angle, will have the same outcome. You can spare yourself the misery by choosing a pillow that keeps your neck and head in a neutral position.

Sinus Headaches

The allergy season is dreaded by most sufferers, but not everyone has allergy problems. So how can you suffer from a sinus headache if you don’t? It could be a sinus infection. On the other hand, sleeping in a bad position can prevent drainage. In turn, that leads to swelling and pressure in the sinuses and a sinus headache. Lucky for you, it’s nothing a good pillow won’t solve. However, if you have allergies or a sinus infection, treating the underlying problem will save you a world of early morning pain.

Grinding Teeth

You don’t think much of the fact you grind your teeth in your sleep, but it might be the source of your morning headaches. The repetitive motion and tension involved with grinding teeth, also known as Bruxism, causes a great deal of stress in the facial muscles and around the mouth. The bad news is Bruxism destroys teeth as well as causes headaches. The solution may lie in stress management and better sleeping habits. In short, meditating before bed might spare you the headache of a high dentist bill.


Like most people, you take medicine to relieve your headache. Ironically, if you do this more than two times a week, you could be causing your morning suffering. The bitter twist in this cause is taking more medication to ease your headache only aggravates the condition while decreasing the effectiveness of the painkiller. Common medicines associated with medication rebound are Tramadol, acetaminophen, narcotics, aspirin, decongestants and more. The real paradox is, in order to put an end to morning headaches, you have to stop taking the medicine.

Sleep Apnea

A lack of air and restful sleep during the night can definitely lead to a morning headache – among other things. The cause might be sleep apnea, which is a condition that causes you to stop breathing while you sleep. It comes in two forms – central and obstructive. The latter doesn’t necessarily wake you up, but nor do you enjoy a good night’s rest whether you realize it or not. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, you should see a doctor and discuss treating the condition rather than the symptoms. Even if sleep apnea isn’t behind your morning headaches, finding the cause promises you’ll wake up with a smile in the morning.

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