Early Morning Headaches

Waking up fresh, with a good night’s sleep, and an entire day to look forward to is everyone’s dream. But, those late-night work hours and erratic habits eat up into your sleep, causing harm to your health. And lately, it has become an everyday occurrence for many. This habit and many other factors contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle, and sometimes you wake up with beads of sweat running down your forehead and a massive headache that makes you wonder the worst.

Now, you might wonder, what’s the cause of headaches every morning? Like mentioned before, there are plenty of contributing factors which we will unfold later in the article. In the meantime, your primary concern lies in being able to differentiate between the several types of morning headaches, to avail of the best possible treatment, and to make changes in your otherwise inconsistent lifestyle to avoid future recurrences.

Types Of Morning Headaches

There might be times when you experience throbbing pain in your forehead or at the back of your head, marked with a sharp, pulsating feeling. Whether it lasts for hours or days, you need to make sure that you take necessary medications or consult a doctor immediately.

It might be hard for you to distinguish between your morning headaches. However, there are several types of headaches associated with it that include:

Here are a few types of headaches:

  • Migraines
  • Cluster Headaches
  • Tension Headaches
  • Medication Overuse Headaches
  • Hypnic Headaches
  • Paroxysmal Hemicrania

These different types of headaches help identify the cause of your morning headache, thus helping find its treatment.

Let’s now take a look at 18 different causes of early morning headaches and their preventive measures.

18 Causes Of Early Morning Headaches

You might blame extended screen time or long work hours, but there are more extensive reasons that cause early morning headaches. While there is no specific primary cause, many factors like lack of sleep, unhealthy diet and lifestyle, and others add to the pain.

These triggers may affect you individually, or a combination of factors might lead to the severity of your early morning headaches. Therefore, understand where things might go wrong or have been going wrong may help you amend it and work towards a more balanced lifestyle, free of headaches.

Here are 18 different causes of early morning headaches:

1. Poor Sleeping Habits
Whether it’s using a wrong pillow or working late into the night leading to lack of sleep, poor sleeping habits can take an unhealthy turn if not taken seriously. Sleep time is the time needed for your body and your mind to unwind and get the rest it needs. If your sleep gets hampered somehow, it can give rise to morning headaches that might aggravate in the future.

2. Sleep Disorders (Sleep Apnea & Insomnia)
Sleep apnea and insomnia are two of the most common sleep disorders. During sleep apnea, your normal breathing gets interrupted, causing you to gasp for breath, thus leading to disruption in your sleep. Insomnia, on the other hand, makes it hard for one to fall or stay asleep. Generally, those with insomnia wake up early with a throbbing headache and get less than six hours of sleep on average. Both these sleep disorders disrupt your sleeping pattern and cause morning headaches of the worst kind. Seeking medical attention is the primary step to slowly resolving your sleep issues and, in turn, your headaches.

3. Overuse of Medications
Medications overuse may be a problematic situation for those who suffer from daily headaches or migraines. Due to dependency on medicines, during those hours of sleep, the body gets accustomed to these medicines. When withdrawn, it can lead to acute headaches or migraines.

4. Caffeine-induced Headaches
High caffeine consumption may lead to chronic headaches or migraines. Therefore, those experiencing early morning headaches get advised to limit or stop their caffeine intake to avoid its dependency and its contribution to the cause of headaches.

5. Stress-related Headaches
One of the primary causes of sleep disorders, thus morning headaches, is stress. Stress or anxiety can make it difficult to fall asleep, and if you have trouble sleeping, it can lead to constant headaches for days together.

6. Jaw Clenching or Tooth Grinding
If you find yourself clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth during sleep, the likelihood of you waking up with a splitting headache rises. Both these habits are usually linked with stress and sleep hygiene. Therefore, its reversal will help sleep better and avoid morning headaches.

7. Poor Diet
‘You are what you eat’ cannot hold more meaning than now when it comes to headaches. An inadequate diet can cause plenty of issues, and one of the many is waking up with a headache every morning. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, fibrous foods, and generally, a nutritious diet goes a long way in keeping your lifestyle healthier and the triggers to a bare minimum.

8. Low Blood Sugar
The level of sugar in our blood rises and falls throughout the day. However, at night, it can drop considerably and, in extreme cases, can lead to a condition called hypoglycemia. Therefore, maintaining proper levels of blood sugar can help avoid symptoms like irritability, lethargy, sweating, headaches, and more.

9. Dehydration
It may come as a surprise, but dehydration is linked with migraines and can trigger them in the morning, as the consumption of water during the night is less to none. Therefore, go to sleep feeling hydrated so you can sustain through the night and avoid morning headaches.

10. Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol consumption causes dehydration and shortens sleep duration, both contributing to troubled sleep, thus early morning headaches.

11. Hormonal Imbalances
Hormonal fluctuations during menstruation and otherwise can cause migraines. According to some studies, more than 50% of women experience acute headaches during the menstruation period.

12. Cluster Headaches
Cluster headaches are considered one of the most painful headaches where one experiences severe pain. The pain usually centers around the eye or in the front section of the head. It is not the usual throbbing but a stabbing pain, and it causes restless agitation making it rather difficult to lie still.

13. Hypnic Headaches
Hypnic headaches generally occur during the night between the hours of 0100 and 0300. The headache can get severe and could last from 60 minutes to 6 hours.

14. Allergens & Chemicals
Allergens in the air or on your bed can cause sinus congestion and consequent headache, or even migraine. Chemicals present in air fresheners, deodorants, and perfumes might cause an allergic reaction, resulting in headaches.

15. Intracranial Hypotension
When you sit upright in the morning after waking up, due to intracranial hypotension, you might find yourself experiencing a mild to severe headache. The role of the cerebral spinal fluid in maintaining the right pressure in sensitive areas of the brain is essential in avoiding headaches caused due to intracranial hypotension.

16. Snoring
If you wake up in the morning with a headache and your partner complains about your snoring at the same time, you must see a doctor. Snoring is associated with chronic headaches, in that it is a risk factor.

17. Musculoskeletal Headaches
Musculoskeletal headaches, also known as tension headaches, are the most common type of headaches for the accompanying muscle aches and pains. They affect most of us at some point in our lives and cause mild to moderate headaches that may spread throughout your neck and shoulders.

18. Hypertension
When the blood pressure rises, the first indication might be your headache. A rise in blood pressure levels is associated with mild to moderate headaches, and if not treated on time, it can cause serious health problems.

Any of these causes might be the reason behind your early morning headaches, and finding a remedy for it will help you sleep better and wake up refreshed.

How To Prevent Early Morning Headaches?

Preventing early morning headaches depends on the cause of your headache, along with its diagnosis and examination by the doctor. Once that’s completed, your doctor can draft a treatment plan. The rare cases of early morning headaches may be the result of sleep disorders or inadequate sleep quality. Practicing healthy sleeping habits helps counter the occurrence of these headaches. You can adopt the following measures to curb the frequency of early morning headaches.

Here are a few tips how to prevent early morning headaches

  • Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep (for adults)
  • Go to bed and wake up at regular times
  • Go to sleep in a conducive environment
  • Reduce screen time before going to sleep
  • If your headaches are due to an underlying condition, get treatment for that condition to reduce the frequency of morning headaches
  • If overuse of medications causes headaches, work with your doctor to find a solution to this problem

Note: Do NOT stop or start medicines without consulting your doctor first.

When To See A Doctor For Morning Headaches?

When the frequency or the severity of your morning headaches increases, it’s time for you to see a doctor. The earlier you consult a doctor, the sooner you can nip the problem in the bud. As you know, plenty of factors cause early morning headaches. Only a certified and qualified doctor can provide a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Therefore, visit a doctor to understand the root of your headache problem and follow the treatment plan chalked out by your doctor to reduce their frequency and get rid of them for good.


Early morning headaches are a sign that you need to slow things down and live a balanced lifestyle. If you wish to wake up in the mornings feeling refreshed and relaxed, it’s time you take some action about your headaches and seek medical help when needed.

Most times, people are pressed for time and do not find suitable hours to visit a doctor and get some consultation. This situation is where Aims Healthcare’s Doctor At Home Service in Dubai comes to the rescue. Whether it’s your home, office, or the hotel, you will receive the best possible treatment for your problem by our qualified and certified doctors in Dubai. We enhance the experience of attaining medical attention and treatment by conveniently making the best healthcare professionals easily accessible and just one call away. So, to receive personalized medical care, comprehensive diagnosis, treatment, and after-care exclusively at your doorstep, contact us at +971 505 136 505 or fill this enquiry form and one of our dedicated team members will contact you at the earliest.

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