Nighttime Headaches: What Causes Them?

If you get nighttime headaches often, you need to see a doctor to get examined and find out what is causing them.

Nighttime headaches affect your sleep and your ability to get a restorative night’s sleep that helps you wake up full of energy and optimism.

They’ve happened to all of us at one point or another. We’ve all opened our eyes to a new day with our heads muddled. We may feel like a dark cloud is pressing down, and we’re unable to face the day ahead of ur.

First of all, it’s important to distinguish nighttime headaches from regular headaches.

Sometimes, you go to bed with a headache that’s already started and gets worse during the night. However, it started awhile before going to bed. This isn’t a nighttime headache.

Headaches at night aren’t just one-time things; it’s a very common condition and affects more people than you might think.

Today, we’d like to explain what causes them.

Nighttime headaches: 5 ways to distinguish them

Nighttime headaches: 5 ways to distinguish them

Headaches have many different causes. However, if it comes on suddenly during the night, interrupting your sleep, there are other factors involved that should be considered.

In addition, if it’s happening every night for several nights in a row, it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor.

Let’s take a look at what can cause nighttime headaches.

1. Hypnic headaches

Hypnic headaches are not very well-known. They may happen during the night or even when napping.


Generally speaking, they happen during the REM stage of your sleep. It’s a mild but sharp pain that usually lasts from 15 minutes to an hour or two.

The reasons are not completely understood, but it’s known that it happens during this particular stage of sleep. Therefore, it is believed that the hypnic headache may be related to a sudden drop in melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep.

Hypnic headaches tend to present in people over 50.

2. Inflammation-causing foods

Inflammation-causing foods

This is another piece of information that’s not very well-known. Certain foods, when eaten in excess, cause changes in your body.

Oftentimes, food high in monosodium glutamate (MSG) cause headaches in the middle of the night if eaten late in the day, like at dinner.

This artificial additive is not just unhealthy, but also addictive.

It gives an intense flavor to many of the foods you eat every day, like sauces, creams, soup stock, and many kinds of precooked meals.

Cheese and other dairy products also cause inflammation and often cause nighttime headaches.

All of this means that you should watch what you eat at dinner. Choose which foods you consume so close to bedtime well.

3. Sinus headache

Sinus headaches are also associated with nighttime headaches.

This type, as the name indicates, is caused by sinusitis.

This pain in the sinus area is very intense. The sensitivity may also reach your ears and head.

A lot of times people think that it is caused by some kind of migraine or vascular headache, but not sinusitis. This condition tends to get worse overnight if the air is very dry. Humidifiers can be very helpful in these cases.

4. Exploding head syndrome

Exploding head syndrome

It’s as odd sounding as it is true. Exploding head syndrome was described by the end of the 19th century, and yet today little is known about what causes it.

This kind of disorder enters into the realm of what’s called “parasomnias,” or in other words, a sleep disorder.

  • It consists of an intense headache right when a person is about to fall asleep.
  • Women tend to get them more than men.
  • Some people may experience it only once in their life; others may get them for months at a time.
  • However, in all registered cases, they go away by themselves.
  • For now, the data indicates that it may be related to an injury in one of the bones of the ear or even a failure in neuronal activity right when you’re about to fall asleep.

“Take a look at this: Kiss Your Insomnia Goodbye with these 5 Breathing Techniques: They Work Great!”

5. Cluster headaches

Cluster headaches are a type of migraine that affects men more than women.

  • They appear between two and three hours after falling asleep.
  • The pain is very intense and lasts a relatively short period of time, between 15 minutes and half an hour.
  • The pain is located on one side of the head, behind the eye, and may extend to the temple and neck.
  • Other symptoms that accompany the headache are eye inflammation, a congested nose, and watering of the eyes.

Cluster headaches are sometimes chronic.

To conclude, if you’ve experienced any of these problems for multiple days in a row, don’t hesitate: contact your doctor.

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