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The attack of cephalgia, which worries a person when he has already fallen asleep, or starts from the very morning, is considered one of the varieties of atypical headaches. This problem is inherent in this category of people who have a tendency to migraine (every second case of migraine attack, occurs at night or in the morning). Often, the pain is one-sided, different in intensity and duration. In addition, in a dream, an attack of cluster pain may begin, the duration of which varies from minutes to hours, with a possible repetition throughout the day. Usually, such attacks just make you wake up, and do not deprive you of sleep for the whole night.

Etiology of the problem

Headache in the middle of the night is often a sign of a pathology present in the human body that affects one of the following departments:

  • The arterial system.
  • Cranial nerves.
  • Venous sinuses.
  • Cervical or upper thoracic spine.

Common causes:

Very often, pain in the head in the middle of the night, appears in people with affected arteries. This disorder provokes spasmodic contractions of the arterial walls, thromboembolism or atherosclerosis.
The head can ache at night with a common cold. Hyperthermia of the body leads to a violation of blood flow to the vessels of the brain, which certainly leads to oxygen deficiency in neurons.
CNS disorders that become provocateurs not only headaches at night, but also signs such as tinnitus, dizziness, pallor or hyperemia of the skin, chronic fatigue.
People who have problems with blood pressure, often complain of headaches even before they begin to prepare for bed.
Night attacks of cephalgia are characteristic for such pathologies as spondyloarthrosis and osteochondrosis. Diseases coming from the spine, provoke the infringement of nerve fibers, worsening the innervation of blood vessels and muscles.
Histamine disease - can cause cephalalgia before going to bed, and also during it. This disease is characterized by the presence of frequent attacks, the duration of which ranges from 2 hours. The pain bothers on one side of the orbit, and the symptoms can become a real daily problem that can not be overcome without medication.
Heart attacks and strokes also have a symptom in the form of headaches, often in the nape of the neck.

A common cause of such pains may be intense mental activity. Especially, it is noticeable for students who are preparing for the exams, because the load on the brain in this situation increases at times. In addition, constant thoughts about future work, immediate plans and unresolved problems, also adversely affect night sleep. Sleeping, the brain does not stop "pondering" all the information that has accumulated in it for the whole day, thereby provoking pain.

Clinical picture

Headaches during night sleep, have their classification of symptoms, taking into account the time of occurrence and nature of the course:

  • Systematic attacks of pain - characteristic of arteriosclerosis of vessels, high blood pressure, inflammation of the temporal arteries.
  • Paroxysmal - disturb at a high pressure, a migraine and presence of formation in adrenals.
  • One-sided pains are a typical sign of migraines.
  • Repeated pain - develop with neuritis.

Classification of pain by localization of the main focus:

Tenzionnye - accompanied by a feeling of squeezing around the head (like a hoop). The patient has a spasm of the smooth muscles of the orbit. The duration of the attack can range from half an hour to several days. The head begins to ache, usually in the evening.
Cluster - characterized by the localization of pain in the front of the head. Their duration can range from 10-20 minutes, up to 1 hour. In addition to this, there may appear a runny nose, increased lachrymation, coughing.
Hypochondriacal pains are characteristic of emotional people. If a person "winds up" himself with thoughts about the probable presence of a brain disease, and constantly thinks about it, such thoughts can provoke the real cephalgia from the evening or directly at night.
Organic - develop, because of the presence of volumetric education in the brain. They are typical for the evening and night time of the day, after all for the whole day, the vascular system lends itself to a considerable load.
Temporal pains occur when there is inflammation of the temporal arteries. Acute attacks of cephalalgia in arteritis, intensify their intensity after a depressed state, insomnia, weight loss, etc. In addition to sleep disorders, the neck and shoulders can hurt.


After establishing the exact cause of nocturnal headaches, doctors prescribe polysomnographic examination, which makes it possible to distinguish migraine from headaches of overexertion. When assessing anamnesis and complaints, all the symptoms are studied in detail, and assumptions about a possible source of pain are made. Diagnostic procedures can consist of laboratory methods of investigation (general blood and urine analysis), eye examination and blood pressure monitoring. Also, additional examinations at the ENT and dentist, and more innovative methods of MRI and CT examination can be prescribed.


The main principle of treating a headache that disturbs a person during sleep depends on its exact form.

The pains provoked by the SPAC cease immediately after the cure of the primary disease. The solution of similar pathologies is carried out by narrow specialists who treat obstructive sleep disorders - somnologists. Applying specific methods of diagnosis, they calculate the nature and extent of the disease, after which they prescribe to the patient an individual course of treatment.

With migraine attacks, headaches try to calm down with various medications, the best of which are the Tryptans. During the period between attacks, as well as for their prevention, psychotherapy, acupuncture, massage, etc. are used. From the diet of a sick person, it is necessary to exclude foods that contain the substance tyramine (nuts, chocolate, citrus, tomatoes, cheese, etc.), and, necessarily, any kinds of alcohol.

Cluster headaches are treated with the same medications as migraines, but there are some differences. The exact course of treatment should be determined by the attending physician. For the prevention of seizures, breathing is practiced with 100% oxygen. To reduce the intensity and frequency of seizures, the patient needs to abandon bad habits.

In any case, if at night a person is suffering from headaches, he should consult a doctor as soon as possible in order to conduct a qualitative diagnosis and start treatment.