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Sleep-Related Headaches: What Triggers Them?

Sleep related Headaches

Have you ever woken up with a headache after a good night’s rest? Or do you frequently suffer from chronic headaches every morning after waking up? Worry not, for this is not unusual. Studies have shown that sleep and headaches are interdependent and can manifest in different forms. The main reason for such headaches triggered by sleep is due to dysfunction like anemia and hypoxemia. In light of this, the most common occurrences are:

  • Sleep induced cluster headaches and migraines;
  • Headache triggers sleep disturbance;
  • Sleep disorders induced by headaches.

Types of Sleep-Related Headaches

Headaches can occur when you wake up, when you are sleeping or when you are about to sleep. The latter is mainly due to the fact that headaches are also influenced by different sleep stages. However, it is important to understand that headaches do not manifest only due to lack of sleep. Many a time, excessive sleeping or disturbance to different sleep stages equally contributes to headaches. The region of the brain responsible for sleep is also a chemical messenger for inducing headaches. Resultantly, people suffering from insomnia or chronic sleep disturbances often also report migraines and anxiety. Based on this, let’s take a deep dive into different types of sleep-related headaches and what causes them.

Morning Headaches

The most common form of sleep-related headache is known as wake-up headache. As the name suggests, this type of headache occurs only in the mornings after waking up. This is frequent in people who take over-the-counter or narcotic medication for some form of pain. As the effects wear off within 4-8 hours, these types of headaches are commonly triggered while one is asleep.

Cluster Headaches

Another common type of sleep-related headache is the cluster headache. Cluster headaches are like migraines, that is excruciatingly severe and can last for hours! Common symptoms of cluster headaches are pain behind one eye, drooping of that eye, and running nose.

Hypnic Headaches

The rarest form of sleep-related headache is the hypnic headaches. Typically, this occurs without any warning or symptom while one is sleeping. Hence this form of headache is also referred to as the alarm-clock headache as it has the potential to wake one up from even the deepest of slumbers. People have reported that such a form of headache can last anywhere between 15 minutes to 4 hours, and have the same effects of migraine, i.e. sensitivity to lights and sound.

Home Remedies for Addressing Sleep-Related Headaches

If you are suffering from chronic headaches related to sleep, it is highly recommended to visit a doctor to get a full sleep study done, in order to find the underlying cause. However, in the meantime, you can try out these home remedies for temporary relief.

  • Switch your pillows to something softer or harder based on what you already use. The most common reason for the sleep-related headache is the use of an improper or uncomfortable pillow.
  • Avoid caffeine at least six hours before bedtime.
  • Eat healthily and work out regularly.

Most importantly, if you are prescribed medications, check with the doctor beforehand for its effects on sleep.

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