Many people see sleep as one of the best home headache remedies. Headache in the afternoon? Take a nap. Headache in the evening? Go to bed early. But what do you do when sleep seems to be causing headaches? Waking up with a headache in the morning can be hard to deal with. It makes already challenging mornings that much more difficult. Unfortunately, many people in the Columbus, OH, area experience morning headaches.

This isn’t surprising given that there are many potential reasons why you might wake up with a headache in the morning. If you are looking for help with morning headaches, Columbus sleep dentist Dr. Mike Firouzian can help.

woman sitting in bed with a headache


Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which you might have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. As a result of insomnia, you might not get as much sleep as you need overnight. Plus, what sleep you do get is likely to be restless.

This leads to sleep deprivation, which can cause headaches. Talking to your doctor can help you determine whether you have insomnia or if you might be having difficulty sleeping for other reasons: stress, poor sleep hygiene, distraction, or another cause on this list.

Anxiety or Depression

People with mood disorders like anxiety and depression are more likely to experience migraines. The more common your migraines, the more likely you are to experience mood disorders. This includes both anxiety and depression.

In addition to being associated with migraines, anxiety and depression can interfere with your sleep. The less sleep you get, the more likely you will wake with headaches. Of course, anxiety and depression might themselves be symptoms of other conditions, including sleep apnea.


Many medications come with side effects like sleep disturbance. If you start a new medication and start having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about it. It’s possible that you might be able to get a different formula that helps you sleep better.

Another problem with medications is overnight withdrawal. For many medications, the period overnight is the longest time between doses. This may cause your medication to wear off or reduce in concentration to the point that you develop headaches. Talk to your doctor about the overnight dosage and whether you can get a longer-lasting dosage to avoid morning headaches.

Alcohol Use

Some people think that having alcohol before bed is a good way to get to sleep. Unfortunately, while alcohol can help you fall asleep, it can also disrupt your sleep, meaning that you get less quality sleep. It can also contribute to snoring and sleep apnea.

In addition, alcohol can dehydrate you, and overuse of alcohol can lead to hangovers. Hangovers are likely partly related to dehydration, but we’re not entirely sure of their cause. This is why there’s no reliable hangover cure. However, if hangover headaches significantly impair you on a regular basis, try changing your alcohol consumption patterns.

Muscle Strain

Sleeping in an awkward position can strain your neck muscles. This can lead not only to neck pain but to headaches. Strained muscles in the neck often contribute to strained muscles in the head because these muscles all work together to support your head.

Occasional muscle strain happens to everyone. If you get headaches regularly, it’s worth considering your pillow to see if it’s negatively affecting your spine alignment. Soft pillows might not provide enough support for side sleepers. On the other hand, hard, thick pillows can put the head and neck up too high for back sleepers. Try using different pillows to find one that really works for you.

TMJ and Bruxism

Temporomandibular joint disorders (called TMJ or TMD) contribute to many headaches. These headaches could be linked to muscle strain because your jaw is constantly clenching to attempt to get into a comfortable position. This can lead to tension headaches. TMJ is also linked to migraines because it impacts the trigeminal nerve, a key trigger point for migraines that also controls your jaw muscles. Watch for other TMJ symptoms like jaw soreness, tooth damage, ear pain, stuffy ears, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), and vertigo.

People also clench and grind their teeth for other reasons at night. Stress, for example, might make you grind your teeth overnight, leading to painful headaches in the morning. Plus, people with sleep apnea often clench and grind their teeth to try to hold their airway open. Often an oral appliance can help hold your jaw in a comfortable position and/or protect your teeth and jaws to reduce headaches.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition in which your breathing stops at night. It stops long enough that your brain has to awaken at least enough to resume breathing. This can cause headaches in part because your brain is experiencing repeated incidents of oxygen deprivation as well as sleep deprivation. It might happen hundreds of times a night, preventing you from ever reaching deep, restorative sleep.

Check out symptoms of sleep apnea. If you have several of these symptoms, talk to a Columbus, OH, sleep dentist about getting tested or finding an effective, convenient treatment.

Sleep Apnea Treatment in Columbus, OH

If you suspect that sleep apnea might be behind your morning headaches, let Columbus sleep dentist Dr. Mike Firouzian help. We can get you tested for sleep apnea and recommend a comfortable, convenient way to treat sleep apnea without CPAP.

Please call (614) 683-4640 or use our online contact form to request an appointment at our office in the Crosswoods neighborhood of Columbus near Worthington.