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A throbbing headache is not the ending we imagine to a long nap. Although there are many reasons why you have a headache after a nap, oversleeping is one of them. Yes, you can get a headache from sleeping too much. But why does your head hurt if you oversleep? Carry on reading to learn why this happens and what you should do about it.

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

There isn’t a fixed number of hours that works for everyone when it comes to sleep. Many factors can affect the amount of sleep you need, like age, health, how much sleep you need, and more. Furthermore, these elements can drastically change throughout one’s life. If you’re sick or stressed out, you might need more rest to recover.

That being said, experts recommend 7 to 9 hours of sleep for adults above the age of 18. Other factors might affect how much sleep you need.

Why You Get a Headache from Sleeping Too Much

Too much sleep can show symptoms, and headache is a common result of sleeping too much. There are multiple reasons why you have a throbbing and dull headache after you sleep more than you should. These include:

  1. Serotonin Disruption
    Your circadian rhythm helps manage the sleeping patterns of your body, allowing it to sleep and wake up. With the help of this internal clock, you sleep and wake in a way that you feel well-rested. Moreover, it refreshes your body’s processes. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps maintain your circadian rhythm.Neurotransmitters in your brain, especially serotonin, can be affected by oversleeping. Serotonin takes part in a process called a neural pathway, which helps your body accomplish certain tasks. In doing so, serotonin tells the receptors when to make you fall asleep or wake you up.

    Oversleeping can interrupt the process of the neural pathway, as you continue sleeping even after serotonin has told your receptors to wake you up. Hence, your body is not fully resting and needs some nourishment. You’ll need to have some food or water to overcome the mild nutrient deficiency and dehydration.

  2. Sleep Disorders
    Sleep disorders like insomnia or sleep apnea can cause headaches as well.When you suffer from insomnia, your brain might not enter the critical part of your sleep cycle, which is known as rapid eye movement or REM sleep. Not getting enough REM sleep can lead to migraine attacks after waking up. This is because your body produces certain types of protein that stimulate your nervous system.

    Sleep apnea can reduce the oxygen that reaches your brain while you sleep. Consequently, this sleep-breathing disorder can interrupt REM sleep. Moreover, it constricts blood flow to the brain. You could wake up with a headache due to sleep apnea.

  3. Anxiety
    Anxiety is connected to headache disorders like migraine. In addition, depression and other mood disorders are the primary causes of oversleeping and insomnia. Therefore, if you experience anxiety or other mental disorders, it could be why you have a headache from sleeping too much.

What are the Other Causes of a Headache from Sleeping Too Much?

Other reasons behind headaches after waking up are:

  • Hypersomnia
  • Bruxism
  • Snoring
  • Dehydration
  • Skipping meals
  • Consuming too much caffeine or alcohol

What’s Next?

If you have a headache from sleeping too much, visit a sleep specialist for a diagnosis and treatment. Our Sleep & Headache Solutions team is looking forward to guiding you on your sleep and headache related issues. You can contact us at (832) 688-8886 for a night of better sleep!

Our clinic is located at 13114 FM 1960 West, Ste 105B, Houston, TX 77065, next to Westside Podiatry.

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