Why do you wake up with a headache in the morning? Here are 10 culprits

Are you prone to waking up with a headache in the morning? These 10 could be the culprits behind morning headache during winter season.
View All Images morning headache
Headache is common in the winter season! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Aayushi Gupta Published: 30 Dec 2023, 08:59 am IST
  • 206
Inputs from

Winter mornings seem cozy, romantic, and refreshing. However, waking up with a headache can alter this experience. In colder temperatures, some individuals frequently report morning headache. If you too suffer from the same discomfort, you’re aware that winter migraines can be quite unpleasant. One of the most common causes behind this is the cold air, which can trigger several other factors that can increase the risk of headache in the winter.

A study published in The Journal of Headache Pain established a link between decreasing temperatures and increased headache. Fortunately, Dr Neha Kapoor, a certified head neurologist, suggests that there are effective ways to ward off these headache triggers.

10 causes of morning headache during the winter season

1. Dehydration

During winter days, we tend to ignore water intake because we feel less thirsty compared to summer days. This can lead to dehydration, a known trigger for headache. Moreover, cold winter air tends to be dry and reduced humidity levels can also cause increased fluid loss through respiration, exacerbating dehydration during sleep. All of these reasons can cause headache.

2. Low indoor humidity

Indoor heating systems are commonly used to combat cold weather. However they can significantly reduce indoor humidity levels, which can contribute to dehydration. It can even irritate the nasal passage and throat, leading to congestion and headache. Using a humidifier in the bedroom can help. 

Health Shots recommended: 5 best humidifiers for dry indoor air: A winter must-have at home

3. Sleeping in a cold room

While a cool room is generally conducive to better sleep, extremely cold temperatures can disturb your sleep cycle and cause tension headache. Cold air may cause blood vessels to constrict, reducing blood flow to the brain and triggering headache.

4. Sinus congestion

Winter often brings an increase in respiratory infections and allergies, which can cause a blocked nose, cold, and cough. Sinus congestion due to colds or allergic reactions can lead to a morning headache. Breathing difficulties during the night can also contribute to headache upon waking.

5. Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea, a condition where breathing pauses during sleep, could cause headache when you wake up in the morning during all the seasons. This problem becomes more common during the winter months. Disrupted sleep patterns and oxygen deprivation caused by sleep apnea are some of the most common causes of morning headache.

Also read: 7 yoga poses to fix tension headache

6. Stress

If you are dealing with stress, there are chances that you may experience an early morning headache. Factors such as festivals, frequent holidays, irregular work schedules, and increased social activities during the winter season can disturb your work-life balance and increase the risk of stress. Moreover, high levels of air pollution, gloomy afternoons, and smog-filled evenings can create a stressful scenario for many individuals.

Select Topics of your interest and let us customize your feed.

woman with regrets
Try to understand yourself! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

7. Caffeine withdrawal

Winter mornings can be particularly challenging, and many people may consume more caffeine during the day to stay alert. However, if there’s a sudden reduction in caffeine intake, it can lead to withdrawal symptoms, including headache. To avoid this, maintain a steady and moderate caffeine intake and be mindful of any abrupt changes in consumption.

8. Bruxism (teeth grinding)

Stress, which can be heightened during the winter season, is a common trigger for teeth grinding. Cold weather can exacerbate this condition, leading to headache upon waking. Wearing a nightguard, managing stress through relaxation techniques, and addressing any underlying causes of stress can help prevent teeth grinding and associated morning headache.

9. Poor posture during sleep

Headache in winter is also common because cold temperatures may cause muscles to tense up, leading to poor sleeping posture. Sleeping in awkward positions can strain the neck and shoulders, contributing to tension headache.

10. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Some individuals experience seasonal affective disorder during the winter months, characterised by mood changes and a decrease in energy levels. SAD can also contribute to headache, as the physical and emotional effects of the disorder may impact sleep quality. Light therapy, regular exercise, and spending time outdoors during daylight hours can be beneficial in managing SAD and reducing the likelihood of morning headache.

Practice yoga to bid adieu to seasonal affective disorder. Image Courtesy: Freepik

7 tips to get rid of morning headache in winter

  1. Stay adequately hydrated by drinking water throughout the day, especially before bedtime if you are prone to headache.
  2. Use a humidifier in the bedroom to maintain humidity levels, which can help prevent dryness and discomfort that may contribute to a morning headache.
  3. Maintain a comfortable room temperature and use a blanket to keep your bed warm and create a cozy sleep environment.
  4. Irrigating the nasal passages with a saline solution or using a nasal decongestant before bedtime may help alleviate congestion and reduce the likelihood of waking up with a headache.
  5. Stick to a regular bedtime schedule, even during the winter months. Consistent sleep is essential to avoid headache.
  6. Use supportive pillows and maintain proper sleeping posture to help alleviate muscle tension and reduce the risk of a morning headache.
  7. Manage your stress levels to reduce the risk of headache. You may try meditation, deep breathing, and gentle stretching exercises to promote relaxation and better sleep.

With these tips, you can reduce the risk of experiencing headache in the morning!

  • 206
About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

Next Story