5 Causes of Morning Headaches & How To Prevent Them

Posted on the 05 December 2022 by Shoumya Chowdhury

Headaches result from blood vessels, the brain, and nearby nerves reacting to each other. Common headache types include tension, migraine, and cluster. If you’re waking up to a throbbing sensation in your head or face in the morning, you don’t have to suffer.  

The following are five causes of morning headaches and solutions to help prevent them.

Lack of Sleep

It’s very easy to overlook the importance of a good night’s sleep. The benefits of sleep extend beyond preventing morning headaches; sleep recharges your body, rests your eyes, and removes toxins from your brain.

As humans, the brain requires sleep; there’s no way around it. Without sufficient shut-eye, you’re going to feel sluggish and flat the next day. Additionally, researchers found that a lack of sleep creates migraine proteins.

To prevent morning headaches caused by a lack of sleep, figure out what’s keeping you awake. Adults require seven to nine hours of slumber a night. 

Work, a new baby, and aging partners are three reasons why your sleep might be cut short. You’re not alone. These are life milestones to push through. 

Consider fitting in naps throughout the day as a solution.

If health reasons prevent you from sleeping a full night every night, it’s time to speak with your doctor. 


Some individuals require medication to manage their chronic conditions. Codeine for pain relief, aspirin, and naproxen cause rebound headaches for some patients. 

If your medications are causing morning headaches, it’s another reason to speak with your doctor. Your condition dictates your prescription. But there may be an opportunity for a lower dose or less powerful medication.

Consider engaging in exercise to alleviate symptoms of your condition as another solution. Yoga, meditation, and walking are low-impact and effective.

Maybe you need more active time outside to spruce up your immune system.  

Teeth Grinding

When you fall into a deep sleep, you dream. Some say that dreams are an extension of a person’s innermost feelings. 

In a dream, you’ll experience anxiety, stress, and frustration, so it’s not surprising to inadvertently grind your teeth. You may also clench your fist, or toss and turn. 

Teeth grinding while sleeping, also known as bruxism, leads to morning headaches. You’re placing pressure on the jaw with a certain force. 

Crowded teeth or a misaligned jawbone cause bruxism too. Nonetheless, if you wake up with morning headaches, neck discomfort, or muscle pain, seek medical guidance. Start with a  trip to the dentist.

If you suffer from morning headaches and teeth grinding, a mouthguard might be worth looking into.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that disrupts sleep. It’s normal to feel a headache in the morning when sleep is interrupted in 30-minute increments.

Those with sleep apnea snore loudly. Blocked nasal airways cause snoring.  Since you can’t breathe through your nose, your mouth falls open. Plus your neck muscles relax, so air gets trapped in your throat too.

As air tries to escape, the soft tissues contract. Everything put together leads to loud sounds known as snoring. 

Common air obstructions include extra body weight, nasal congestion, and medical conditions. Males are prone to this sleep apnea and the chances of developing it increase if there’s a family history.

The solution to this chronic condition depends on the reason for loudly snoring. If it’s weight-related, expect your doctor to instruct you to shed a few pounds. If it developed because you’re an older male, the condition is chronic. You’ll benefit from using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, oral device, or supplemental oxygen.

Substance Use

Individuals who participate in substance use are likely to experience interrupted sleep and morning headaches.

The bulk of the damage comes from uppers, such as cocaine, amphetamines, and methamphetamines. Downers, including opioids, benzodiazepines, and alcohol, cause oversleeping, which also delivers headaches in the morning.

Stopping substance use is the best way to solve morning headaches caused by drugs. For some individuals, that’s easier said than done. If you need help overcoming your attraction to a substance, help is available through public and private organizations.


As humans, sleep is a requirement. If you’re experiencing morning headaches, there are solutions. Those who lack sleep need to figure out how to get more, even if it means squeezing in naps throughout the day. Teeth grinding and sleep apnea are more serious conditions that merit a visit to the doctor’s office. 

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