why do i get a headache after a nap

Why Do I Get A Headache After A Nap? Causes and Best Solutions

Everyone is aware that taking naps is essential and beneficial to the body.

Napping is meant to make you feel better, but sometimes you wake up from a nap with a headache, and that causes you to wonder and ask, why do I get a headache after a nap?

Headaches often indicate that something in our bodies is not functioning as it should. Waking up with a headache after taking a nap can spoil the rest of your day.

However, a headache after a nap is typically nothing to be worried about. If you experience this frequently, you are not alone.

There are several reasons why you may have that unpleasant headache. Keep reading to find out the answer to the question; why do I get a headache after a nap?

Types Of Headaches

woman having headache
woman having headache

The first step you should take is to determine the type of headache you are having. There are primary and secondary headaches.

Primary Headaches

Primary headaches are distinct conditions that are brought on by other illnesses.

Some causes of migraine, tension headaches, or cluster headaches include overactive nerves, Neck muscle discomfort, brain chemicals, or dilated blood vessels.

Additionally, primary headaches can run in families.

Secondary Headaches

Secondary headaches happen when pain-sensitive nerves in the head are activated due to an underlying medical condition.

Secondary headaches may result from the flu, sinus infections, ear infections, or other illnesses.

Why Do I Get A Headache After A Nap?

Many people who experience a headache after a nap wonder, “why do I get a headache after a nap”?

Here are some reasons why you may have a headache after a nap.

1. Sleep hygiene

Your sleep hygiene is unrelated to how clean you are. Instead, it refers to hygiene that supports healthy sleep. If you have poor sleep hygiene, that could be why you wake up from a nap with a headache.

A hard pillow could be uncomfortable for your head and neck, leading to headaches, while a good pillow would hold your head and neck in a relaxed position.

If you’re taking a nap due to insomnia, sleeping too little can cause headaches that naps don’t usually relieve.

Also, napping too much can trigger headaches, as oversleeping is a risk factor for headaches.

Adopting healthy sleeping habits can also be a vital factor in avoiding headaches when you wake up. However, if you think your headaches have persisted after modifying your habits, you need to consult your doctor.

2. Bruxism and TMJ

Clenching your teeth while sleeping puts extra strain on your jaw joints and connecting muscles and tissues. Since the tissue in this area extends all over your face, it can cause a  headache after napping.

People with severe bruxism may develop temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), resulting in a dysfunctional jaw joint. Both bruxism and TMJ can make people wake up with headaches after a nap.

If you experience facial pain, sore jaw, clogged ears, or tinnitus, you should seek an evaluation from a TMJ dentist. Some people can stop clenching and grinding by wearing a night guard, while others may need TMJ treatment.

3. Muscle Tension or Strain

Muscle tension may be the reason you experience a headache after napping headaches. Muscle tension on the neck and the base of the skull can lead to tension headaches. Also, excessive tension on your scalp can cause headaches.

If you experience a lot of chronic tension in your head or neck region, it may be due to one of the following: chronic stress, poor posture, tight hairstyles, and poor sleeping posture.

4. Dehydration

Dehydration can result in many health problems; therefore, you should drink water often during the day. If you’re running errands all day without stopping or eating, you may experience a headache.

Some symptoms of dehydration include; dry mouth, dark urine and lips, bad moods, and lightheadedness.

5. Hunger

Hunger causes blood sugar levels to fall, which might result in headaches. If you nap on an empty stomach, you might wake up with a headache. A small banana and a glass of milk are good to consume before sleep if you’re hungry.

6. Anxiety and depression

Physical symptoms, such as headaches, might be experienced by people who are depressed or anxious. They can also disrupt sleep, which could increase the risk of headaches after a nap.

Depression and anxiety can cause restlessness, fatigue or tiredness, frequent worrying, oversleeping, or sleeping too little.

7. High Blood Pressure

If your blood pressure readings are high and you also experience a headache after a nap, you should see a doctor immediately. You won’t experience frequent headaches if your blood pressure isn’t very high.

Seek medical help If you have high blood pressure, feel dizzy, or have skin patches.

8. Excess Coffee Intake

Drinking a cup of coffee can give you an instant energy boost in the morning. But excess coffee consumption might have unpleasant side effects, like headaches after napping.

Migraines may result from excess coffee intake and insufficient water throughout the day.

9. Allergies

There are several reasons why you have a headache after too much sleep, but allergies are a significant problem.

Allergies may be the cause of your frequent sneezing, painful or itchy eyes, fatigue, and a general feeling of illness. Check with your doctor if antihistamines could help with your issues.

How To Prevent A Headache After A Nap

1. Stay Hydrated

Lack of water consumption is a common problem that many people have. Before you go to sleep, get a glass of water because dehydration might cause headaches when you wake up.

2. Learn to Manage Stress

It can be challenging to nap if you are always anxious. Instead of feeling more relaxed, you may feel tenser than before the nap. Try meditation, light exercise, or yoga to prepare your body for sleep.

3. Adjust your Sleeping Position

Sleep on your side or your back instead of sleeping face down on a table because a wrong sleeping position can cause a headache when you wake up.

4. Nap in a Comfortable Place

Try to take your naps where you can lie comfortably rather than just leaning on a desk. Also, consider buying a quality pillow to prevent tension on your neck and upper back.

5. Limit Caffeine Consumption And Avoid Taking Long Naps

Try to limit your caffeine consumption if you want to prevent getting a headache. Excess caffeine in the body will make it hard for you to sleep at night. Additionally, a long nap will disrupt your regular sleep cycle.


Why Do I Have A Headache After A Nap?

A headache after a nap is unpleasant but can indicate you’re hungry or a little dehydrated. Additionally, allergies or too much sleep could be the cause. If you change your diet and reduce caffeine consumption, withdrawal can cause a headache after a nap.

Can Oversleeping Cause Headaches?

Oversleeping can trigger headaches which could be remedied by eating healthy food and drinking enough water. If you sleep too much, you can wake up thirsty and hungry. Oversleeping may be a sign of illness,  anxiety, or depression. Consult a doctor if you think you’re sleeping too much.

Can Snoring Cause Headaches?

You can have headaches if sleep apnea is the cause of your snoring. A critical medical issue called sleep apnea causes you to stop and start breathing while you’re asleep.
If sleep apnea is what causes you to snore, consult your doctor as soon as possible because it can be treated.

Can Pillows Cause Headaches?

A pillow can cause headaches if it’s too soft, too hard, or not pressure-relieving enough. Consider switching to a pillow that allows your spine to stay aligned if your head is resting too high or too low on the current one to avoid getting a headache from pillow pressure.

Bottom Line

If you experience a headache after a nap, it could mean you are hydrated or need to eat something.

Headaches caused by hunger and dehydration usually disappear once you eat and drink water. If a headache persists, allergies or an ailment may be the cause.

Therefore, seek medical attention to rule out any health issues, and make sure to eat healthily and get plenty of rest each day because these are the leading causes of headaches after a nap.

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