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Morning Headache


A morning headache is a tension headache that develops as soon as the headache sufferer wakes up.

Causes of morning headache

Causes of morning headache include lack of sleep, tension-producing sleeping positions, stress, and even pillow choice. Changing sleeping positions or purchasing a new pillow may be enough to prevent a morning headache for some people.

Between about 4 AM and 8 AM, the body tends to produce less of its natural painkillers, the endorphins and enkephalins, than at other times of the day.  Adrenalin is released in larger quantities during the early morning hours.  Since adrenalin affects blood pressure and the regulation of dilation or contraction of the blood vessels, it may play a role in migraine attacks.

Rarely, serious diseases may cause early morning awakening headaches.  These diseases may include brain tumors, sleep apnea, and severe high blood pressure.

Chronic morning headaches

Chronic morning headaches are usually associated with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, in which people stop breathing many times throughout the night, teeth grinding and periodic limb movements. And the bed partners of snorers are known to wake with a headache. But the study found that the headaches were most strongly linked to anxiety and depression.

In addition to muscle tension, morning headache and tension headache symptoms may be triggered by:

  • colds and flu
  • depression
  • excessive caffeine consumption
  • extended car drives
  • eye strain
  • nasal congestion
  • physical overexertion
  • poor posture
  • sexual activity
  • sinusitis
  • smoking
  • stress
  • working in one position for long periods.
If you snore, be sure to tell the doctor, because morning headaches have been associated with snoring and sleep apnea. Treatment may mean weight loss or use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device worn at night to prevent interruptions in breathing during sleep.

Sometimes crying or laughing
are the only options left,
and laughing feels better right now.

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