Have morning headaches? Here’s what may be causing them

Experts say several causes, some effective solutions

Are you waking up with a headache each morning? According to the Sleep Foundation, one in every 13 people suffer from morning headaches, and they're more common in women than in men. There are a number of causes, as well as some effective solutions.

Are you often waking up with a headache? They aren’t just an annoying way to start the day -- they could also be a red flag for other health issues at hand.

According to the Sleep Foundation, one in every 13 people suffer from morning headaches, and they happen to be more common in women than in men. There are several potential causes, and some effective solutions.

“It’s very common in people who are in their most productive years of life, so 20s, 30s, 40s,” said neurologist Dr. Teshamae Monteith.

One of the most common culprits behind morning headaches are sleep disorders, such as insomnia, snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. A study in Poland found nearly a third of people with sleep apnea tend to wake up with headaches.

Using a continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machine to treat your sleep apnea could reduce or eliminate morning headaches.

“CPAP is the most commonly used and effective treatment for the more serious sleep apnea condition,” Monteith said. “It adds extra air pressure to the patient’s breathing passage to stabilize the breathing.”

Anxiety and depression can also trigger morning headaches, especially if they’re also interfering with your sleep.

Teeth grinding or clenching during sleep is another reason for morning headaches. Grinding can be caused by an irregularly shaped jaw, stress and anxiety or sleep disruption. Dentists can prescribe an oral device to help with overnight teeth grinding.

Also, if you’re consuming more than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day -- the equivalent of two cups of coffee -- your caffeine withdrawal overnight may trigger a headache. If that’s the cause, the headache should subside once you have your morning cup.

If you frequently take over-the-counter medications to relieve headaches, that can trigger morning headaches. If you’re using over-the-counter medications more than twice a week, talk to your doctor about the problem.


Related news: Hormones can trigger sleep problems for women


About the Author:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.