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Do You Suffer from Morning Headaches?

Morning headaches Sleep Test

Do You Suffer from Morning Headaches?

There are few situations worse than starting the day with a headache. Believe it or not, it is estimated that as many as one in every 13 people suffer from morning headaches on a regular basis (1). 

One of the issues which tends to confound this situation is that it can be attributed to several different causes (or even a combination of reasons). This is why it is a good idea to take a look at what might lead to morning headaches so you can get the treatment you need. 


Research indicates that migraines affect up to ten percent of the global population. These headaches are known for severe pain, sensitivity to light, nausea, and (occasionally) vomiting. One of the reasons why migraines tend to be more prevalent in the morning hours is that any medication taken overnight will wear off by this time. Although women are more likely to suffer from migraines than men, the truth of the matter is that this condition can affect anyone. 

The Overuse of Specific Medications

Some medications might induce headaches in the morning; particularly if you are already taking prescriptions for painkillers. If caffeine happens to enter into the equation (such as a traditional cup of coffee), you could cause what is known as a medication overuse headaches (MOH). Speak with your doctor in order to learn more about any possible alternative options which may be available. 


Anyone who has ever enjoyed a night out on the town is likely aware that a hangover can cause headaches. There are two reasons behind this situation. First, the body becomes dehydrated when an excessive amount of alcohol is consumed. As alcohol is also a vasodilator, the expansion of blood vessels can place pressure upon the nerves within the skull. Other symptoms of a hangover include dizziness, difficulty concentrating, extreme thirst, and an overtired feeling.


Many individuals suffer from insomnia and while this condition can drastically impact your daily life, it has also been known to cause headaches. There are many symptoms associated with insomnia and a handful of the most prominent include:

  • Feelings of tiredness during the daytime.
  • Anxiety or irritability.
  • Difficulty remaining focused.
  • Fatigue.

Not only can insomnia disrupt normal sleep cycles known as circadian rhythms, but the added muscle tension due to a lack of sleep may contribute to morning headaches. As always, speak with a doctor or sleep specialist in order to learn about what treatment options may be available. 


TMJ is an acronym for a portion of your jaw known as the temporomandibular joint. Those who have TMJ disorder tend to hold a great deal of muscular tension where the jaw connects to the base of the skull. As a result, this type of stress can easily cause morning headaches. Such a situation may be particularly problematic due to the fact that many individuals are not aware that they may be suffering from this condition. 

Some common symptoms include a clicking within the jaw, overall facial soreness and pain that radiates to other portions of the head or the neck. Still, doctors are able to prescribe a specific mouthpiece intended to prevent the unconscious clenching of the jaw while sleeping. As a result, the number of headaches is likely to dramatically reduce.

Stress and/or Anxiety

Stress-induced headaches do not only occur during the day. If you already have difficulty sleeping, you could also be unconsciously tensing the muscles around your jaw, face and eyes. This leads to muscular fatigue and in some cases, headaches. 

Although such a situation has emotional roots, the fact of the matter is that the physical effects can be quite debilitating. This is why it is a good idea to practice relaxation techniques before sleeping; you are likely to achieve a more satisfying rest. 

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a condition in which the airways either partially or completely close while sleeping — which occurs when throat muscles relax. This happens while you’re sleeping, and you won’t be aware of it. 

The possible dangers are nonetheless very real. In order to obtain a correct diagnosis, it is first important to recognise some of the symptoms as well as a handful of long-term health effects. Some common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea include:

  • Feeling extremely tired during the day.
  • Excessive and loud levels of snoring (often detected by a partner).
  • Waking up short of breath or coughing.

Some possible health impacts of sleep apnoea are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity (both a cause and a potential contributing factor)

As you might have already imagined, morning headaches can be another indicator that OSA might be present. The good news is that it is normally relatively easy to determine whether or not this condition is present. Let us take a look at why at-home sleep testing is an excellent option. 

The Benefits of At-Home Sleep Testing

It is very common for those who suspect they have obstructive sleep apnoea to perform an at-home sleep test. This non-invasive test is intended to monitor your sleeping habits during the overnight hours, determining whether or not any difficulties may exist. Your doctor will determine if you have sleep apnoea as well as the level of its severity. Assuming that you have been positively diagnosed, the next step involves the use of a CPAP machine.

What is a CPAP Machine?

A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine will often be employed to mitigate or even eliminate the effects of sleep apnoea. This unit consists of a pump and a mouthpiece that is placed over your face. By increasing the amount of pressure delivered to your mouth and lungs, your airways will remain open. 

Not only can this help to address the immediate symptoms of OSA that were mentioned above, but you will finally be able to enjoy a restorative night of sleep. Furthermore, frequent headaches could very well no longer be present. It is nonetheless important to speak with a doctor or sleep specialist. Obstructive sleep apnoea will not go away on its own and if anything, the associated symptoms may become worse over time. 

Stopping Morning Headaches in Their Tracks

There is no reason why anyone should suffer from morning headaches. Unfortunately, many individuals tend to believe that there are few options at their disposal. Nothing could be further from the truth. However, it is first critical to diagnose the exact cause of these headaches so that the appropriate treatments can be made available. 

If you suspect that you may have OSA, do not hesitate to procure an at-home sleep test. This quick examination could very well represent the first step down to the road to a headache-free morning. 


  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/headache/early-morning-headaches

To order the Intus At-Home Sleep Test: https://www.sleeptest.co.uk/product/in-home-sleep-test/

To shop for the highest-quality selection of CPAP devices: https://www.cpap.co.uk/shop.html


About author: Helen Clarkson is a Sleep Specialist at Baywater Healthcare. Ms. Clarkson has worked with Baywater since 2008, working closely with patients in delivering sleep/bi-level services including sleep and respiratory, both in the home and clinic setting. This includes therapy initiation and troubleshooting support. Ms. Clarkson is responsible for delivering the Baywater Healthcare patient adherence management programme to ensure continuing patient therapy compliance. works in conjunction with NHS clinicians and procurement to deliver excellence in home and clinic-based services. She provides training on all aspects of sleep including devices and interfaces. Previously, Ms. Clarkson served as Respiratory Physiologist at Pontefract General Infirmary. Her position was Senior MTO for lung function/sleep department, and she was responsible for performing simple and complex sleep studies, sleep study analysis, CPAP initiation, therapy adherence and troubleshooting/service clinics, spirometry, lung volumes and transfer factor, reversibility, CPET, hyperventilation testing, EIA testing, skin prick testing, 6 min walk tests. She has also held roles as Respiratory Physiologist and Respiratory Technician, working closely with patients with respiratory disorders -- including ex-miners. Ms. Clarkson has a BSc (Honors) in Applied biology from University of Staffordshire. She also studied Developments in Sleep Medicine (advanced course) at St. Thomas’ Hospital, and took the Edinburgh Sleep Medicine course. She completed the BSS: Advanced sleep course and the ARTP NIV Course.

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