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How To Treat Headaches At Night

Sleep and Stress Remedies

Dr. Tasneem Bhatia Profile Photo

Written by Dr. Tasneem Bhatia on May 18, 2021

Nothing’s worse than having your peaceful sleep disturbed by a sudden and stressful headache.

Unfortunately, nighttime headaches can affect both adults and kids, disrupting sleep cycles and leading to fatigue the next day.

While headaches at night can be annoying, especially if they are recurring, there are some ways in which you can treat nighttime headaches, even if you aren’t sure of their exact cause. As a doctor, advisor and partner of clean-medicine company, Genexa, it’s important to me that patients know how to use different techniques and medicines (when needed) to treat your kids’ headaches at night.

Types of Nighttime Headaches

Nighttime headaches are usually the same kinds of headaches as you might get during the day. However, there is one particular type of headache that only occurs at night. Let’s explore different types of nighttime headaches in detail so you can narrow down which one you or your child is dealing with.

Hypnic Headaches

Hypnic headaches are the only type of headaches that occur exclusively at night. They’re also sometimes called “alarm clock headaches.” True to their name, they tend to happen around the same time each night. So, if you or your child has a recurring headache around the same hour, it may be a hypnic headache.

However, hypnic headaches are typically rare for children. They normally affect people over the age of 50. If you suspect your child is suffering from hypnic headaches, contact your pediatrician for further advice.


Many children and adults also suffer from migraines during the nighttime hours. Migraines are particularly painful headaches that usually concentrate around the sinuses (the areas behind your eyes) or around the temples. You can also tell if you have a migraine if you or your child see visual stimuli that go along with the pain, such as halos or flashing lights.

Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches usually occur in clusters or in batches rather than being strictly recurring. For example, they may occur repeatedly over several weeks before disappearing for a while. Again, these headaches usually affect adults since they’re thought to be caused by temporary or repeating stressors. But, kids can also get cluster headaches if they are stressed or if they’re ill.

Headaches Behind the Eyes

Headaches behind the eyes are incredibly common for kids, especially if they’re allergic to certain kinds of environmental contaminants. These are usually focused behind the eyes or around the sinuses as opposed to the temples or scattered throughout the head.

Nighttime Headache Causes

Regardless of the type of nighttime headache you or your child is dealing with, it’s important to know how you can treat the symptoms. You can usually do that by identifying the cause.

Nighttime headaches are mostly caused by the same things that cause daytime headaches. The only exceptions are hypnic headaches. Doctors aren’t sure what causes hypnic headaches overall. Thankfully, you likely won’t have to worry about these headaches when it comes to your child since they mostly affect older adults.


Muscle tension is the root cause of "tension headaches," and it’s one of the most common headache sources for both night and daytime problems. Tension can cause headaches by triggering nerve responses in and around your head and neck, leading to pain and discomfort.

Teeth Grinding

Many kids and adults both experience nighttime headaches because they grind their teeth. Many of us pick up the habit of grinding our teeth while we sleep sometime in childhood and never fully get rid of it. This isn’t a problem during the day since we can stop grinding our teeth when we feel uncomfortable.

We may unconsciously grind our teeth as we sleep in response to certain mental stimuli, like a bad dream, or just out of habit. We may not stop grinding our teeth as we sleep, leading to nerve pain around our faces and jaws.

Dry Air

Dry air is another big cause of nighttime headaches. The temperature drops during the night in most cases, leading ambient humidity to decrease as well. Dry air can irritate the nasal passageways, leading to discomfort and a mild headache centered around the eyes and sinuses.


Kids and adults alike can both suffer from eye strain, which can cause headaches long after the screens have been turned off. Eyes train usually crops up when you sit too close to an electronic screen, or when you expose your eyes to too much bright screen light for too long. Even after you go to bed, your eyes can still be stressed from the bright light, which may trigger painful nerve responses around your head.

Treatments for Nighttime Headaches

There are ultimately too many nighttime headache causes to count. But, the good news is that there are lots of ways to treat nighttime headaches if you have them frequently.


If your children have nighttime headaches relatively often, consider giving them some mild medication to reduce the pain and help them to sleep. Genexa’s Kids’ Pain & Fever medicine is one of their best pain relief medicines that’s great for your little one. Plus, Genexa uses real ingredients to create clean medicine without any artificial fillers , so your kid is getting what they need to feel better without the unnecessary stuff found in other OTC formulas.

Powerful acetaminophen can help relieve minor aches and pains, just like those you or your kids feel with a headache. We’d recommend this not only for nighttime headaches but for any general cold and flu discomfort.


It’s also a good idea to drink more water if you find yourself experiencing more nighttime headaches. You may be dehydrated without knowing it, which is easy to occur if you’re a little too preoccupied through the day to hydrate. Most people are still awake for several hours before bed.

If you are dehydrated, your sinuses and head could become uncomfortable as you sleep, leading to a nighttime headache. Drink a glass of water before bed and make sure your child is properly hydrated as well.

Elevate the Head

You might also consider elevating your child’s head if they suffer from nighttime headaches. Our heads need to be slightly elevated to be comfortable and to prevent too much mucus from collecting inside our throats as we sleep. Plus, elevating the head could relieve pressure in your neck muscles, lowering the likelihood of nighttime headaches.

Lower the Room Temperature

Our bodies need the ambient temperature to be a little lower than average when we go to sleep at night. If it’s too hot, we won’t be comfortable and our sleep won’t be as restorative.

Keep the bedroom temperatures in your home low at about 65 degrees F and you and your child may experience fewer nighttime headaches.

Use a Humidifier

Lastly, consider picking up a humidifier for use in your bedroom if you or your child has nighttime headaches because of dry air. A humidifier can work throughout the night and prevent dry air from irritating your throat and head. Place it near your bed or your kid’s bed for the best results.


As you can see, there are multiple ways you can help ease and avoid nighttime headaches.

Thankfully, you can also take advantage of clean options from Genexa, who’s laser-focused on providing you and your family with real medicine, made clean. That’s why each of their offerings is made with the same active ingredient for relief and clean inactive ingredients instead of a bunch of unnecessary artificial additives for taste and preservation.

Get well soon!