Do You Ever Wonder Why You Wake up With a Headache? Here Are a Few Reasons

Mustafa Gatollari - Author

Feb. 14 2021, Published 9:18 a.m. ET

Bad headache.
Source: Getty

While it seems kind of ridiculous that you could "sleep" a wrong way — I mean all you're doing is just laying there and going unconscious — there's apparently a lot of wrong ways to catch some Z's. Sleeping with a fan on is a bad idea, and apparently sleeping on your stomach or with your shoulders positioned incorrectly can contribute to long-term muscular-skeletal imbalances. And if you've ever wondered, "Why do I wake up with a headache?" your sleep rituals might have something to do with that.

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Why do I wake up with a headache?

All right, first and foremost, you should probably be consulting a physician or health professional if you're suffering from a persistent headache problem. That being said, there could be several benign reasons why you're waking up with a headache or a sensation that feels akin to it.

why do i wake up with a headache
Source: Getty
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Caffeine withdrawal.

Are you the type of person to immediately pour themselves a strong cup of coffee or tea when they wake up in the morning, or have several cups of joe throughout the day? Well, your body could be fiending for the chemical when your body is asleep. Obviously there are tons of other foods and beverages that pack caffeine, From sodas, to energy drinks, to even dark chocolate and chocolate-frosted cakes, and green tea, they all have the stuff.

So if you find yourself consuming these foods and drinks on the regular, you might suffer from withdrawal in the morning.


One of the most prevalent "morning headache" situations comes simply from not not drinking enough water. Try and think about the last time you drank some water before going to bed. Do you regularly imbibe it throughout the day? Have you had a lot of salty foods before sleep?

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Depending on how long you've been asleep, your body could be sapped of precious fluids, which is why you're waking up feeling extra groggy or with headache like symptoms. You could combat this by having a small amount of water before you go to bed (you don't want to wake up in the middle of the night running to the bathroom a bunch of times). It also helps to just drink a tall glass of water first thing in the morning.

Source: Twitter
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Drinking alcohol or taking medication before bed.

Your body works extra hard to metabolize booze, and it could result in a "mild-hangover" which just feels like a headache. Any meds you're taking right before bed might also cause some head pain, so again, speak to your doctor and find out if taking them could result in headaches.

Wrong pillow.

If your pillow is too hard or too soft your muscles are going to try and compensate accordingly — and that extra strain could result in a headache. While you're sleeping, your neck should be in a similar position as to how you would stand (with perfect posture). While it may be tempting to double up on pillows, putting your head at too extreme of an angle will hurt your neck in the long run and cause headaches.

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why do i wake up with a headache
Source: Getty

You're grinding your teeth.

This is a "tick" that some people suffer from called bruxism, and the headache you experience will feel like a dull pain around your temples. If you suffer from bruxism, you can try going to bed with a mouth guard to prevent your teeth from grinding, or consult a specialist.

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Snoring/sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea results in irregular breathing patterns, meaning you aren't getting enough oxygen while you sleep. These headaches generally don't last too long, however — usually 30 minutes maximum or so.


If you're having difficulty going to bed or wake up multiple times throughout the night, that could have something to do with your morning headaches.

Source: Twitter

Anxiety or depression.

The Journal of the American Medical Association has said that one of the biggest factors that lead to morning headaches, especially since they both can lead to insomnia.

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