Headache in the morning? Possible causes at a glance

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Waking up with a headache without having drunk alcohol the night before is an unpleasant start to the day. Especially since those affected usually don’t know what the problem is.

Sleeping well, starting the day well rested and with energy to cope with the tasks ahead – that’s what everyone wants. But what to do when the first feeling in the morning is a throbbing in the head? Online health magazine Fitbook spoke with sleep and general physician Dr. med. Michael Feld about possible causes.

Incorrect lying position
Is your pillow possibly too big? If the shoulders can’t sink in properly, the neck and upper back quickly tense up. So morning headaches are often tension pains and accordingly a new pillow or a firmer mattress that supports the body well with all its weight is the solution.

Other orthopedic problems
Of course, you can also misplace yourself or get a draft, for example, from a fan or violent cold wind. Likewise, if you have sprained your ankle, an orthopedist or physical therapist can help you.

Teeth grinding
Teeth grinders are likely to know morning headaches as well, since clenching and malingering of teeth can also cause severe tension, namely in the jaw area. And these pull into the temple and head. Dentists summarize such complaints as craniomandibular dysfunction (CMD) and, by the way, you can see the (unconscious) habit: by dark abrasion marks on the teeth. In such cases, it can make sense to have a bite splint fitted and to additionally combat the habit with meditation and relaxation measures, because: Grinding is usually stress-related.

Snoring
Some snorers reach more than 60 decibels, as the sleep physician tells us. This can cause such violent vibrations that you wake up with a headache. Above all, sleep apnea sufferers can be affected – that is, the approximately four percent of snorers who wake up from sleep due to breathing pauses. Sleep apnea puts severe stress on the body. The fright awakens the natural survival instinct, which is why adrenaline is released. The muscles are activated and the blood pressure rises – the sufferers therefore find it difficult to get back to sleep.

High blood pressure
Normally, the “night’s rest” should also give the heart a little breather and the heart rate during sleep should go down accordingly ten beats. When some form of stress occurs at night – from noise, a scare (such as a phone call), or mental worry – this drop in blood pressure can be disrupted. The result again: morning headaches.

Pre-existing conditions or allergies
If they occur only rarely, morning headaches are usually harmless, according to Dr. Feld. They often have short-term causes, such as lack of fluids or stuffy air, i.e. lack of oxygen in the bedroom. However, they can also be caused by a wide variety of factors – such as hypoglycemia at night due to diabetes or an allergy (e.g., to house dust). If you wake up with headaches again and again over a longer period of time, you should clarify this with a doctor.

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