What causes you to wake up with headaches?


Quick Answer

Non-migraine morning headaches are most often caused by sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and insomnia, according to the American Headache Society. In addition, nearly half of all migraines occur between 4 and 9 a.m. Migraine headaches worsen to a disabling intensity whereas tension headaches cause a steady and milder pain.

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What causes you to wake up with headaches?
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Full Answer

Sleep, headaches and moods are controlled by the same areas of the brain, explains the American Headache Society. Inadequate rest reduces the tolerance for pain, which exacerbates headaches. Insomnia is defined as difficulty falling or staying asleep, early awakenings and non-refreshing sleep. Sleep apnea is a breathing obstruction. Headaches are also associated with anxiety or depression.

The overuse of painkillers is another cause of morning headaches, says the Migraine Trust. People who take painkillers to ease a tension headache can develop chronic morning headaches, called the rebound or withdrawal effect. Other symptoms of painkiller overuse include poor appetite, nausea, restlessness, irritability, inability to concentrate and depression. Using painkillers, especially those containing caffeine or codeine, more than twice a week increases the risk of chronic daily headaches. The Migraine Trust suggests treating headaches with warm or cold packs or massage to relax the muscles in the neck and head. Acupuncture, biofeedback and relaxation therapy are also recommended.

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