We all have experienced waking up with a headache, and it’s pretty obvious how it effectively ruins your mood for the entire day. But, most importantly, your productivity also takes a massive hit. 

If you get a headache immediately after waking up, and this has happened once or twice, then it isn’t really a problem. However, if you have been waking up with a headache for quite some time, then it’s high time to evaluate your habits and determine the causes behind them. 

It is evident how headaches can cause you to stop functioning, so it is vital to get rid of this issue as soon as possible. Today, we will explain the reasons and causes behind morning headaches, their types, and what you can do to fix them.

Let’s dive in!

Types Of Morning Headaches

There is no such thing as the type of morning headaches. Because morning headaches are simply headaches that you experience in the morning. However, other classes of headaches can be associated with morning headaches and impair your ability to function in the morning. These include:

  • Hypnic headache (headaches that occur during sleeping and cause a headache for at least 15 minutes after you wake up)
  • Cluster Headache (incredibly painful, occurs at night, appear in cycles of headache and headache-free episodes)
  • Migraine (intense, crippling headache coupled with vomiting, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound)
  • Paroxysmal Hemicrania (a rare form of headache)
  • Tension Headaches (headaches that occur due to a stiff neck, head, face or shoulders muscles, may be very painful or mild)

Causes Of Waking Up With A Headache


woman having morning headache


Morning headaches can be caused due to numerous reasons. Some can be fixed by bringing some changes to your current lifestyle or letting go of some nasty habits. Still, some would probably require medical attention. 

1. Disturbed Sleep Patterns

Many people don’t realise that it’s crucial to have a fixed sleeping pattern and a dedicated time for sleeping. If you have disturbed sleep patterns or irregular sleep cycles, you are more prone to having morning headaches.

Treatment: Try to sleep at a specific time and avoid oversleeping.

2. Alcohol Consumption

Do you enjoy drinking alcohol every once in a while? Or are you stressed and consume alcohol on almost a daily basis? If your answer is a yes to each of these questions, you can deem it the leading reason for your morning headache.

According to some specialists, alcohol is known to dehydrate your body, which is a possible cause of headaches.

Treatment: Drink more water throughout the day and avoid caffeinated beverages to avoid getting dehydrated.

3. Stress

Think about the days during your exams or when you are job hunting and cannot find an ideal job for yourself – what’s the first thing that happens? That’s right – sleepless nights.

Stress leads to releasing a hormone known as cortisol that activates the “flight and fight” response. It causes specific changes in your body, one of them being the dilation of the blood vessels – and this is known to increase your chances of having a morning headache.

Treatment: Whether you’re physically or emotionally stressed, there’s only one thing you can do to prevent morning headaches – stop worrying!

4. Your Pillow

Who knew something as insignificant as a pillow would contribute to morning headaches?

As surprising as it sounds, if you’re sleeping on the wrong pillow, you’re inviting morning headaches to trouble you for the rest of your life. It is essential to understand that the position you sleep in decides the type of pillow you should own.

So, let’s say that you usually sleep on your side; then, to align your spine with your head, it is crucial to sleep on a fluffier pillow. However, if you sleep on your back, switching to a thinner pillow would prove beneficial.

Treatment: Buy a pillow according to your sleeping position.

5. Sleep Apnea

One of the leading causes of morning headaches is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can be defined as a condition where an individual stops breathing during the night. This can repeatedly happen during the night and disrupts their sleep.

Sleep apnea can cause a significant drop in the quality of your sleep, and if your partner or someone else tells you about this, you should get yourself checked by a doctor.

Treatment: Consult a doctor or a sleep specialist and begin with the appropriate treatment.

6. Using Electronic Gadgets Just Before Sleeping

Using our phones, laptops or tablets before sleeping has become one of our favourite activities. It is also the habit of many people who don’t find time throughout the day to go through their emails and other social media apps just before bed.

Truthfully, using electronic devices right before sleeping can cause you to have morning headaches. This is because they emit a blue light that causes the secretion of melatonin that controls the sleep cycle. So it keeps you awake and doesn’t let you sleep.

And if you’re not getting the required amount of sleep, you will definitely wake up with a throbbing headache the following day. 

Treatment: Quit using your phone before bed. Try to wrap up with your emails, Facebook and other apps half an hour before bed and read a book instead.

7. Bruxism

Do you grind your teeth during sleep? Well, if you do, then it can be the reason behind your morning headache.

Bruxism, the technical word for grinding your teeth, can actually be very traumatising. It clenches your jaw and causes tension which may eventually lead to a mild headache in the morning.

Treatment: Pay a visit to your dentist and get a mouth guard or other appropriate treatment tools.

8. Mental Health Conditions

According to a study in the Journal of American Medical Association, it is said that mental health conditions or mental disorders can also be a cause for morning headaches.

Suppose you’re repeatedly getting headaches in the morning and feel very restless or unmotivated to do any tasks throughout the day. In that case, you might be suffering from anxiety or depression.

Treatment: Get a doctor’s appointment, discuss your symptoms and begin with appropriate treatment.

9. Migraines

Migraines are a common occurrence, especially in women, these days. They usually manifest as a morning headache and other symptoms. These symptoms may include photophobia (sensitivity to light), affected vision, and feeling nauseated.

Treatment: Over the counter medications and a doctor are waiting for you. Get yourself checked as soon as possible and treat your migraine.



happy healthy woman


While morning headaches are incredibly problematic, it’s a relief that they can be treated. Whether it is changing a few habits or consulting a healthcare professional – with the right set of instructions, this issue is treatable.