Do you often wake up with a dull, throbbing pain in your temples? What a terrible way to start the day… and sadly for many of us; it’s not uncommon! Did you know that 50% of migraines strike between 4am and 9am, not surprisingly causing the sufferer to feel groggy and tired.
But before you blame your headaches for a bad night’s sleep, it’s worth considering how your sleep habits could be causing them.
It makes sense that sleep and headaches go hand in hand since they are both controlled by the same regions of the brain. Headaches are two to eight times more common among people with sleep disorders than they are among the overall population. While virtually any sleep problem can be to blame for an aching head, here are some of the most common practices that tend to be associated with headaches and migraines.
Sleeping too little can be a trigger for headaches. As if tossing and turning at bedtime and waking in the middle of the night or early in the morning isn’t painful enough on its own, insomnia is the chief sleep complaint of headache sufferers. Lying awake often leads to anxiety and depression—and not getting enough shut eye. But treatment, which may involve specialised therapy or medication, can help with getting more rest and reducing headaches. Just remember though, sleeping too much can also be a factor for headaches.
If your partner complains about snoring, and you complain about waking up with headaches, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor. Snoring is a risk factor for chronic headaches, and it can also be a symptom of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain – and the rest of the body – may not get enough oxygen.
Also known as bruxism, clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth during the night can lead to waking up with an aching head. Along with finding healthy ways to manage stress, like exercise and meditation, using a night guard such as the F.O.S. can help to prevent nocturnal grinding—and the headaches that can come as a result.
Using the Wrong Pillow
Yes, it can actually be that simple! Research has demonstrated that when the nerves in the upper neck are irritated they can cause pain in the head and face, temples, forehead and behind the eyes. Irritation or pressure that affects these nerves can trigger a migraine headache. This can occur from poor sleeping posture, or sleeping on an unsuitable pillow. A correct pillow is one that keeps your vertebrae in its correct and natural position, minimising any nerve irritation and protecting your long term spinal health.