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Is this your first thought when you get up: Why do I wake up with a headache every morning? If you answered yes, know that you are not alone. Waking up with a headache once in a while isn’t a big deal, considering one in thirteen people experience headaches in the morning.

It can ruin your whole day, affecting your mood, productivity levels, and most importantly, your health.

However, if you find yourself waking up with a headache every morning, it is not only disturbing but quite concerning and this can add more stress and actually worsening matters.

Why Do I Wake Up with a Headache Every Morning?

why do I wake up with a headache every morning

Here are a few reasons why you might be waking up with morning headaches.


One reason why you may be experiencing a headache every morning or a headache after nap is a case of migraines. There are various types of headaches, and one of the most common types is migraines, affecting almost 30 million Americans.

Around half of the time, migraines occur between 4 am and 9 am, which is why you might be waking up with migraines and headaches every morning. Migraines come with intense and debilitating headaches as well as other symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting.

While they may not be curable, with proper headache treatment and care, you can manage the symptoms of migraines and reduce the severity of the condition.

Not Enough Sleep or Too Much

Insomnia is another common sleeping disorder that affects many individuals. It affects your sleeping patterns and causes sleep deprivation, which can be the reason why you woke up with a headache several times this week.

A person suffering from insomnia usually has a hard time falling asleep, falling into a deep sleep, and staying asleep as they keep waking up in between. This disturbs the sleeping pattern and leads to headaches in the morning. Insomnia can also cause migraines. There are several ways to treat insomnia, from taking medications to going through therapy.

On the other hand, you may be getting too much sleep. Overindulging in rest can disrupt serotonin levels which can lead to headaches. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot ‘catch up’ on sleep on your day’s off. Variable sleep patterns can cause both lack and excess of sleep leading to headaches.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Bruxism

Another sleep disorder that could be causing your morning headaches is obstructive sleep apnea(OSA). Sleep apnea is a medical condition that causes you to stop breathing during your sleep as your throat muscles collapse. The breathing interruptions can disrupt the quality of your sleep, leading to headaches in the morning.

This condition is not to be taken lightly. If you are overweight or are elderly, it can get worse. At that point, a morning headache will be least of your worries.

However, headaches associated with sleep apnea don’t usually last long. Other symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, dry mouth, and moodiness.

Similarly, bruxism, a sleep-related movement disorder, is another condition that affects your sleeping patterns. This involves grinding your teeth during your sleep. The constant pressure from the teeth can lead to headaches in the morning, with the pain concentrated near the temples.

If you suffer from jaw pain, tooth damage and tinnitus, you may have this condition. You can talk to your dentist about getting a mouth guard to help deal with bruxism.

Depression, Stress, and Anxiety

Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are some of the leading causes of chronic morning headaches. These issues can also lead to the development of other health conditions such as bruxism, strained muscles, insomnia, and more.

If you are constantly under stress or are feeling depressed and anxious, contact a therapist right away to help with your headaches as well as other issues you might be facing in your life.

Strained Neck Muscles

Headaches in the morning can be a result of strained neck muscles, and this happens when your sleeping position or specifically, your neck position isn’t right. Consider changing your pillows or bed with something else that better suits your neck and spine while you sleep.

Alcohol Consumption

When you are wondering, “why do I wake up with a headache every morning?” the first thing you should try to do is recall the events leading up to the headache. If you remember going to a club and drinking all night, it could be that you’re suffering from a hangover, and that explains why you are waking up nauseous and even experiencing a headache when lying down.

The best way to cure a hangover is to drink lots of water, snack on plain foods to settle your stomach, and let the hangover pass on its own. If the symptoms persist, you can consider taking a pain reliever or scheduling an appointment with your doctor.

Caffeine Withdrawal

If you cannot get your morning started without a cup of coffee or tea, you won’t say goodbye to those daily headaches anytime soon. Plus, if you try to quit too fast, you may suffer from withdrawal headaches in the morning. These are often accompanied by tremors, fatigue and irritability.

The fact is that if you overindulge in caffeine and get headaches frequently, consider it as a warning sign. Try to reduce consumption i.e. just enough to charge your batteries in the morning but not too much that you have difficulty sleeping at night.

Medications for Symptoms

Early morning headaches are also common side effects of certain medication such as:

  • Sleeping pills.
  • Aspirin
  • Poioids
  • Caffeine-laced medication.

Read the labels to determine if the medication you take list headaches as a potential side effect. If the pain is bothering you, ask your doctor for alternatives that don’t cause headaches and offer the same benefits for your health.

It Could Be Something Serious

If none of the above mentioned conditions apply to you, there is a chance that you have a potentially serious condition. For example, you may have an undiagnosed brain tumor. Most people who have these complain of morning headaches because fluid pressure in the spine increases when they lie down. If the tumor causes swelling, the brain can stretch out the membranes that cover it which can lead to pain.

The condition is rare so you shouldn’t assume the worst when you think ‘why do I wake up with a headache in the morning.’ If you have brain tumor, the headache should also be accompanied by vision issues, drowsiness, changes in mental status and balance issues. However, chances are that the pain is the cause of a less serious and treatable condition.

About 0.005% of people are diagnosed with a brain tumor in a year, and even in those cases, the tumor usually starts off somewhere else in the body.

Therefore, you can rule out at least one reason when trying to answer the question, “why do I wake up with a headache every morning?”. However, if you’re still doubtful, you can consult your primary care physician to be absolutely sure.


Sometimes, certain lifestyle choices can also contribute to this problem. For instance, drinking too much coffee or smoking just before going to bed can lead to headaches every morning. Even if they aren’t causing it directly, they could be indirectly contributing to the headaches.

For instance, drinking coffee just before bed can worsen your insomnia, which, in turn, can cause those headaches and migraines every morning.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this article should help you answer your question, “why do I wake up with a headache every morning?”.

There can be various other health conditions or sleep disorders behind waking up with a headache each morning. The best way to get to the bottom of the problem is to evaluate your condition and check for any other symptoms you might be experiencing.

Once you’ve noted everything down, you can discuss your problem with your doctor, who will be able to give you a much more accurate diagnosis about headaches as well as an effective solution for your problem.

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