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Headache Upon Waking: What Are The Causes And What To Do

Headaches are a prevalent type of headache, which can develop due to very different factors. Among these is also the night rest: if the sleep is too short, too long, or disturbed, upon awakening, the patient could experience a headache of variable intensity and duration. A disorder must be taken into consideration and treated adequately by treating the sleep problems that underlie it and which must be solved before being disabling.

Sleep: Why It Is Essential To Sleep Well

A restful sleep of a suitable duration provides a significant contribution to the health of our organism, both as regards the body and the mind. Thanks to rest, our body regains the energy lost during the day, promoting metabolic processes and maintaining a good mood. However, sleep can be disturbed by various factors: a meal that is too heavy and too close to bedtime, alcohol abuse, a room that is too hot, or a state of anxiety and stress that prevents the mind from reaching the right state of relaxation.

When A Headache Disturbs Sleep

Stress is one of the main factors of insomnia, but diseases such as migraines can also prevent proper rest. Those who suffer from migraines risk being embroiled in a vicious circle, whereby the difficulty in falling asleep is replaced the following day by another headache to deal with. Furthermore, migraines can also lead to awakening or make rest more disturbed, as it occurs mainly between 4 and 9 in the morning. 

The brain areas responsible for controlling sleep and headache are the same. For this reason, there may be correlations between the two aspects: those who suffer from headaches, for example, are more likely to suffer from sleep disorders. Cluster headache, in particular, usually occurs during the REM phase. In contrast, hypnic headache is a type of bilateral headache typical of the third age that arises only when the patient is sleeping, causing him to wake up and lasting up to 4 hours from the end of sleep.

Headache Upon Waking: What Are The Causes?

Not only night headaches: several causes can trigger a headache upon awakening. It is good to point out arterial hypertension, muscular pains in the cervical area resulting from a wrong posture maintained during the night, or tension in the jaw area that leads to clenching and grinding of the teeth while sleeping ( bruxism ). Headache upon waking can also indicate the presence of obstructive sleep apnea: a pathology that, if suspected, should be investigated because it can cause various discomforts. Finally, lack of sleep caused by insomnia can also cause severe headaches upon awakening.

Tips For Sleeping Well

Patients who are unable to regulate sleep and who continue to experience the problem beyond two to three weeks must consult a neurologist specialist, who will be able to give the most appropriate indications and diagnose any pathologies such as those we have talked about, from sleep apnea to bruxism. . However, there are some tips that it is helpful to implement every day in any case. 

If mild daily anxieties or bad habits cause sleep problems, changing your lifestyle can be the first step to improving your own—an aptitude for sleep. First of all, night rest must remain regular: going to sleep and waking up simultaneously constantly helps our body get closer to sleep. The room where you sleep should have the right temperature, neither too hot nor too cold, and good ventilation, and be dark and quiet. 

Furthermore, in the hours preceding rest, it is good not to stimulate the brain with stimuli such as those caused by light screens and avoid substances that can affect different body areas, such as smoking, alcohol, caffeine, and very heavy, sugary foods. Or spicy (and even physical activity not recommended before bed). Instead, it is recommended to use herbal teas that have a relaxing effect, such as chamomile, melatonin, valerian, or lavender, and, if your doctor recommends it, hypnotic sedatives. Finally, if you feel tired during the day and want to take a “nap,” remember not to exceed 45 minutes.


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