Home Brain and nervesHeadache Waking up with a headache: Causes

Waking up with a headache: Causes

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Waking up after several hours of rest or even a nap is something that does not always give us a feeling of well-being, but many times we feel more tired or even dizzy and with headaches. Sometimes this feeling of discomfort can last several hours or it can be a bit temporary if it is mild. But, although the headache or headache is annoying and unbearable at any time, as long as it is a strong headache when getting upIt is something that should be observed and think about what the reason may have been, as it is important to act as soon as possible to improve the problem and prevent it from happening more times. It is vital to solve the headache when waking up or getting out of bed, as it is an indication that you have not rested well and, therefore, the hours of sleep have not been effective and we will soon begin to notice more symptoms of discomfort.

So if you ever wonder why does my head hurt when I wake up? Whether it’s sleeping at night, taking a nap or getting up, in this FastlyHealarticle you will find the possible reasons that will help you find the origin of your problem in order to solve it with the help of your doctor.

Causes of headache upon waking

It is more common than it may seem to us to get up in the morning and have a severe headache , something that also happens after a nap or when sitting up or bending over. It is also normal to worry and want to look for possible reasons and solutions, especially if it happens regularly. For this reason, below we detail the main causes that answer your question about why my head hurts when I get up:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Inflammation of the nasal passages and passages
  • Bruxism
  • Tension problems
  • Diabetes
  • Incorrect posture when sleeping
  • Some medications

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is a sleep disorder that causes breathing to stop for a few moments while the person sleeps. If you ever think “ my headache wakes me up ” one of the likely causes is that you have this type of problem during rest. Depending on the time that passes without breathing well, the problems that arise are milder or more serious. As in these periods of time the brain is not oxygenated well , it is very common to end up having headaches.

It is for this reason that it is not advisable to wait to meet several health problems derived from this to go to the doctor. The best thing is that if you suspect that you do not breathe well when sleeping, go to the doctor as soon as possible to have tests done and detect to what degree it affects you and start a treatment. In severe cases it is necessary to sleep with a machine that facilitates breathing when sleeping.

Muscle tension

Many times when we sleep we do not realize it but, especially if we have gone to sleep nervous, we tense our muscles. If we spend several minutes or hours with tense muscles, the result is to wake up with generalized pain in the body, or in the part that we were keeping contracted, feel a strong headache and even wake up due to it.

The discomfort caused by this problem usually last a short time and if we stretch the painful parts it will go away sooner. Also, as the muscles relax and we get up to do things or even breathe, the headache will pass on its own . Anyway, it is necessary to go to the doctor if this is frequent because it should help us to treat the reason for this habitual tension, which will surely generate other health problems.

Sleep disturbances

There are various problems that occur during sleep hours, such as apnea, which cause rest to be altered . Insomnia, sleep paralysis , night terrors, and sleepwalking are some of the most common sleep disturbances that will cause us to sleep poorly and can lead to headaches .

It is necessary that when realizing that you do not rest well at night we discuss it with the doctor, since these conditions generally do have a more or less simple solution and that will allow rest to be recovered and, as a result, headaches disappear.

Inflammation of the nasal passages

When you feel a headache when standing up or standing up , as well as when we wake up, it may be a problem derived from inflammation of the nasal and paranasal passages and passages . This can happen due to allergies, sinusitis, or other respiratory problems that can be persistent or become chronic.

Due to bad breath and inflammation in this part of the body, it is normal to experience dizziness and headaches frequently while suffering from this respiratory distress. It is necessary for a doctor to put a specific treatment according to the origin of the problem so that the whole picture improves.


Bruxism is an unconscious habit characterized by clenching and grinding of the teeth that occurs more frequently at night. Thus, as the muscles of the mouth and head are being pressed and kept taut, it is very common for this habit to cause headaches that even wake us up and that the mouth also hurts when getting up.

Doctors can prescribe dental treatment to improve this problem, but it will also be necessary to reduce the stress and anxiety that often accompany bruxism.

Blood pressure and diabetes problems

Diabetes and blood pressure problems have one thing in common: vasodilation. When blood pressure increases, the vessels dilate and the muscles tense and, as we have already mentioned, this favors headaches, which can be mild or more severe depending on the intensity of vasodilation and muscle tension. For this reason, this can be one of the main causes of headache when getting up or bending over from a place and not just when waking up in the morning.

Thus, people who suffer from these health problems should discuss with their doctors if they suffer from this type of headache so that they can help them find the most appropriate solution in their case and, if necessary, adjust the medication.

Inadequate posture when sleeping

Another possible cause of the headache upon waking is that you have not slept in good posture. The bad sleeping postures are somewhat common, in fact, often we do not realize that we are misplaced until we wake up the pain in any area of the body and discomfort in the head. It is best to sleep with natural positions for the body and not forced.

In addition to finding the best sleeping posture for you, you should avoid lowering your head and not sleeping on your stomach, in this way you will avoid morning discomfort. Try to change your posture for a few days to see if the pain in your back, arms, legs and hips and the headache decrease or disappear and, if this is not the case, you should visit the doctor for a better examination.

Some medications

Some drugs or the combination of some of them can cause side effects such as headaches , either while sleeping or during the day. For this reason, especially if the pain persists, it is necessary that you speak with the doctor who prescribed this pharmacological treatment to determine if it really is the cause and adjust or change it if necessary.

For this reason, it is very important not to self-medicate , abuse drugs, or mix drugs that the doctor has not prescribed. Some of the drugs that usually cause discomfort of this type are those indicated for blood pressure, anxiolytics and pain relievers.

Other possible causes of headache

As we have said, these may be some of the most common reasons but they are not the only ones. Thus, other causes of headache when getting up and that should be discussed with the doctor may be the following:

  • Anxiety and stress
  • Depression
  • Dehydration
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Migraine episodes
  • Orthodontics
  • Neural problems

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Why does my head hurt when I wake up , we recommend that you enter our Brain and Nerves category .

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