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Self: Here’s Why You Could Be Waking Up With a Headache Every Morning

Self recently interviewed Cedars-Sinai neurologist Nasima D. Shadbehr, DO, about potential causes of morning headaches, including insomnia, depression, anxiety, and taking too much pain medication.

Chronic morning headaches usually are either a migraine or a tension headache. A migraine often feels like piercing pain in one location along with symptoms such as sensitivity to light or nausea. Tension headaches tend to cause pressure all around the head.

Individuals with depression and/or anxiety are more likely to experience tension headaches. Migraines also are connected to mental health issues because they can lead to fatigue that makes life challenging.

Insomnia and headaches are linked together as well. "Poor sleep quality can cause headaches, and improved sleep quality can help relieve them," Shadbehr told Self.

Taking over-the-counter pain medication too often or too long also can cause morning headaches because the body goes through withdrawal overnight. To avoid this, over-the-counter pain relievers should be used no more than 10 days a month or a couple of times a week, Shadbehr told Self. For those who exceed that amount, Shabdehr advises talking to a doctor for help gradually weaning off the pills.

Before consulting a doctor, Shadbehr recommended tracking the following details:

  • The time the headache started
  • How long the headache lasted
  • Whether there were any noticeable triggers
  • What you ate the night before
  • The quality of your sleep the night before
  • Experiencing any nausea or sensitivity to light during the headache  

"Knowing these details can help your doctor better figure out what kind of headache you have," Shadbehr told Self.

Click here to read the complete article from Self.