Headache After Nap

Headache After Nap: Triggers, Effective Solutions and Prevention Tips

You love to seize the opportunity for a power nap in between your busy schedules and get recharged. But who expects a throbbing headache to be their guest after sweet slumber? And when it happens, you regret sleeping. Like many people who experience hunger headaches or headaches after eating, headaches after a nap are also becoming common. For those who don’t know, it’s a sign of sleep disorders.

According to the American Migraine Foundation, “People living with migraine are 2 to 8 times more likely to experience sleep disorders, compared with the general public. Those living with chronic migraine—which includes experiencing headaches 15 or more days per month—report having almost twice the rates of insomnia as those with less frequent headaches.”

So, if you have the following questions in mind, then today’s post will answer them precisely: Why do I wake up with a headache after a nap? How can I get rid of a headache after a nap?

9 Causes, Remedies, and Their Prevention for Headache After Nap

These are common reasons for experiencing a headache after nap.

1. Snoring While Sleeping

Snoring (Headache After Nap)

If you snore while sleeping, you will likely have a slight headache after waking up. That’s because snoring causes breathing problems, resulting in a shortage of oxygen.

If snoring bothers you, you can try remedies like using nose bandages and mouth guards. You should also avoid alcohol and smoking.

2. Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea

Patients suffering from sleep apnea also have higher chances of a headache after nap because of interrupted breathing patterns. Such patients are more likely to get a headache after sleeping through the night. The good part is that when sleep apnea is treated, the headaches go away, too. Sometimes, changing the sleep position can help address sleep apnea.

It is essential to mention that snoring and sleep apnea are characterized by waking up during sleep, night sweats paused breathing, and tiredness and sleepiness throughout the day.

3. Teeth Grinding

Teeth Grinding

A condition also called Bruxism, many people clench or grind their teeth while they sleep, resulting in post-nap headaches. This unconscious action can hurt your head by tensing up the jaw muscles. It is not a severe problem and can be resolved with focused meditation.

People likely to grind their teeth in their sleep should avoid sugar. Other effective strategies to address sleep bruxism include aromatherapy, massaging your jaws, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, warm compress, and exercising the jaws.

4. Hunger Headache

Hunger Headache (Headache After Nap)

Taking a nap on an empty stomach is a sure shot to get a headache once you wake up. In this case, most people wonder why they woke up dizzy. Not just that, being thirsty and dehydrated can also result in headaches.

How to get rid of a headache after nap? Ensure that you drink enough liquids, especially water, throughout the day. Drinking a glass of salt water for dehydration-induced headaches is also an effective remedy.

Similarly, have something to eat before a nap. An empty stomach may result in bloating and growling that interfere with sleep. Consider drinking herbal teas to cope with bloating and stomach pain. Other symptoms of this nap-associated headache are dizziness, bad mood, and darker urine.

5. Pregnancy


Pregnant ladies are prone to fatigue, so they are bound to take frequent naps. Some of these naps may not be very fruitful as you can wake up with a bad headache.

The best way to avoid this headache after waking up is to drink lots of fluids, minimize caffeine, snack regularly, and stay hydrated. If you are still facing issues, speak with your doctor.

6. Sleep Routine or Hygiene

Sleep Routine or Hygiene (Headache After Nap)

Another common reason people wake up with a headache is poor sleep hygiene. Your bedtime routine, sleep habits, and environment, everything affecting your sleep quality comes under sleep hygiene. The need of the hour is to prioritize sleep-inducing habits and routines.

Use a pillow that’s neither soft nor hard, and always lie down while keeping your head and neck in a neutral position. Screen time before bed also affects your sleep. Therefore, you must avoid using phones at least an hour before sleep.

You can make small changes in your bedroom to create a congenial environment. For example, try new blinds or soothing music. The effects will be evident soon if you practice these healthy tips to improve your sleep quality.

7. Tension in the Muscles

Tension in the Muscles

Poor lifestyle choices can sometimes create havoc with your body, eventually affecting your sleep quality. For example, desk jobs, increased hours of driving, or wrong sleeping positions can cause cramping of muscles in the upper body. Such muscular tensions can cause headaches after a nap.

To address this issue, exercise regularly. Head massages and light stretching exercises can be a boon. Such activities improve blood flow to the muscles, causing them to relax and thus helping you sleep well. People waking up with migraines can use a migraine cap to address trigger points.

8. Caffeine Intake

Caffeine Intake

While caffeine is a powerhouse of energy, it can contribute to headaches after naps. Consuming caffeine late in the day can interfere with your sleep cycle and lead to withdrawal headaches if your body is accustomed to regular intake.

To reduce the risk of post-nap headaches, try to limit your caffeine consumption to earlier in the day.

9. Depression and Anxiety

Depression and Anxiety

Headaches after a nap are much more pronounced in depressed and anxious individuals. The constant mental strain can disrupt restful sleep, making headaches more likely after napping.

While a therapeutic treatment is required, practicing relaxation techniques and learning to block out noise for mental peace can be of great help in managing these symptoms.


Headaches after a nap can be bothersome. Your sleep routine, habits, and environment are crucial to having good sleep quality. When you sleep well at night, you may not need a nap; even when you have one, you will not have a headache after the short indulgence.

Remember, oversleeping or over-napping can be a bad idea, too, and you will tend to have a headache after waking up. If you suffer from headaches occasionally, you can have a headache after a nap. You can practice gratitude meditation to relax your mind, which also helps improve your sleep quality.


Why do I wake up with a headache after a nap?

There are different reasons for this. Some of the common reasons are snoring, sleep apnea, grinding teeth, hunger, headache, pregnancy, tensed muscles, and inadequate sleep routines.

What does a hunger headache feel like?

It is a dull ache that makes the head feel tight on both sides. Usually, it goes away as soon as you eat something, but if you don’t eat anything for long, your shoulders and neck might start hurting as well.

How can I stop waking up with a headache?

Maintain a proper sleep routine, practice relaxation techniques like meditation, limit your caffeine and alcohol intake and optimize the sleep environment.

About the Author: Shanzaib Haider

Shanzaib Haider
Shanzaib Haider is a writer who is passionate about mindfulness, meditation, and building meaningful relationships. He understands the human mind and explores the power of self-awareness and intentional living. Shanzaib writes in a simple and relatable style, making complex ideas easy to understand.

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