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Headaches at Night

Headaches at Night

Headaches may usually point towards overexertion or stress. But in some cases, the same may indicate something more severe. This article gives you an insight into the various causes behind headaches at night.
Saptakee Sengupta
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2018
Headaches cause terrible discomfort. Most common reasons behind headaches may include a stressful life, tension, depression, and work pressure. Headaches also occur when we suffer from cold and fever, and get exposed to polluted and dusty environment regularly. These were the normal causes behind occurrence of headaches everyday. However, experiencing headaches only during the night has some other medical reasons behind.
What Causes Headaches at Night?
A headache might grip you just before the moment you tend to fall asleep or it can wake you up from a deep sleep. Tolerating a severe headache becomes very difficult, thereby leading to hindrance in sleep. Headaches when recur every night can also make you an insomniac.
Moderate Causes
Migraine Headache:  Migraine attacks can get triggered only during the nighttime and such type of headache is usually genetic. People suffering from chronic migraines experience a sharp pain on the forehead. Sleep is disturbed and the pain lingers throughout the night. It subsides only after taking medicines.
Hypnic Headache : This happens more often after the age of 50. A person wakes up suddenly from a dream with a terrible headache. Also known as alarm clock headache, hypnic headache causes nausea and vomiting. Pain is felt on both sides of the head and doctors suspect it to be a consequence of recurring dreams. A person suffering from hypnic headache is sensitive to light and sound.
Cluster Headache : Cluster headache causes great deal of discomfort at night. It is simply intolerable because it occurs intermittently. The head starts throbbing at night and a person might wake up sweating. Cluster headaches can be controlled by administering drugs or performing oxygen therapy on the patient.
Sinus Headache : Those who are already suffering from sinusitis are more prone to headaches during evening and night. Allergens, air purifiers, deodorants, etc trigger sinus headaches. Such people are extremely sensitive to cold and the dull pain persists entire night. Sinus medications as well as painkillers are administered to reduce the pain.
Serious Causes
Brain Tumor  : Debilitating pain in the head at night is the most common symptom of brain tumor. The back of the head is gripped by heavy pain. The pain is experienced even while sleeping and if left untreated, it increases to an extent that senses get numbed. Under such circumstances, one should get an X-ray or a CT scan done immediately.
Sleep Apnea : People suffering from sleep apnea undergo interruption in breathing while sleeping. Change in flow of air causes breathing to stop temporarily. The person wakes up panting, along with a piercing headache. Cluster headaches occur frequently and patients are restricted from consuming foods that trigger headaches.
Hypoglycemia : If a person has low blood sugar level, then he/she is bound to have constant headaches at night. It hampers sleep, thereby leading to some more health complications. A glucose rich diet before going to bed is useful for them.
Severe Depression : A person gets recurrent headaches if he is leading a stressful life. Regular headaches take a toll in the health as tension not only affects one's mental status but gradually his physical stamina as well. Depressive thoughts occupy the mind, causing heaviness in the head and ultimately headache.
Subdural Hematoma : It's a kind of traumatic brain injury, wherein bleeding around the surface of brain takes place. The hemorrhage takes place between the dura matter of the brain, and blood accumulates on the outer meningeal layer. The condition is very painful. Dizziness grips all over the body and the pain felt in the head is excruciating.
Giant Cell Arteritis : It's an inflammation of the arterial lining carrying blood from the heart to rest of the body. More often the arteries around the temple get affected. It causes chronic headaches along with blurred vision. Giant cell arteritis is also known as cranial arteritis or temporal arteritis. A person is administered corticosteroids to reduce the headache.
One should avoid eating chocolates, cheese, and MSG enriched food items as they trigger headaches. Excessive smoking, drinking, and taking drugs frequently should be stopped completely to get rid of headache. Pain killers should be taken only if the pain is excruciating or else massaging the forehead with a pain relief balm is the best remedy. To be on the safe side, one should get a CT scan done, followed by treatment as suggested by doctors.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.