Why do I Have Sinus Headaches in the Morning?

April 23, 2019

3 minutes

Reviewed by Michael Kaplan, MD

When you have sinus headaches in the morning, you’re starting your day off on a rough note. But when you have morning sinus headaches for a week straight, that discomfort can add up quickly, leaving you chronically tired and in pain. Discover the common causes of sinus headaches in the morning and what you can do to treat them.

Note: It’s very common for patients to mistake sinus headaches in the morning with migraines. If you have “sinus headaches” without congestion or other sinus symptoms, take a moment to check out our post on the differences between migraine tension headaches and sinus headaches.

Why do I have a headache when I wake up?

Why do we have sinus headaches in the morning? It’s not like your headache has to get up and go to work like you do! Here are a few common morning sinus headaches causes:

Obstructive sleep apnea: OSA is the obstruction of your airway due to a collapsed upper airway. Sinus issues can compound and contribute to sleep apnea, as well as snoring. The concurrent headache comes from arteries expanding in the confined spaces in your skull as they attempt to bring more oxygen (via increased blood flow) to the brain. This type of headache typically resolves within a few hours after waking, once normal breathing has resumed.

Allergies & rhinitis: Our beds may be a refuge for us to come home to after a long day, but they’re also a haven for allergies, which can easily get trapped in our mattress and sheets. If your allergies are triggered when you hit the sack, your nose may become engorged with blood, which in turn activates the trigeminal nerve and produces a headache.

Other causes: Chronic morning headaches aren’t necessarily sinus headaches. Frequent morning headaches may also be signs of bruxism (grinding your teeth), insomnia, or hypnic headaches (also called “alarm clock” headaches).

What if my sinus headaches in the morning aren’t recurrent or chronic?

Sinus headaches in the morning don’t have to be a regular occurrence to still be a pain. These headaches may be caused by regular ‘ole sinus pressure, including barometric pressure sinus headaches. If you live in Houston, you also have high humidity to contend with. Read more at:  
Can high humidity cause headaches?

How do I stop morning sinus headaches?

Are sinus headaches in the morning dragging down your day? Have you tried OTC painkillers, irrigation, decongestants, and everything else on our how to prevent sinus headaches list, all to no avail? If so, it’s definitely time to seek professional help.

At Kaplan Sinus Relief, our team of professionals is here to put your morning sinus headaches to bed. Permanently. We can treat an array of sinus conditions, but we specialize in the minimally invasive sinus procedure known as balloon sinuplasty — now available with IV sedation.

Balloon sinuplasty restores your sinuses’ natural drainage pathways and can help you find relief from sinus headaches in the morning and other underlying issues (including sleep apnea, snoring, allergies, and rhinitis).

For more information on this revolutionary treatment, call 713-766-1818 or request an appointment online today!

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