Search

HOW TO GET RID OF HEADACHE AFTER NAP - EFFECTIVE WAYS TO FIND RELIEF

Napping is not just for, babies, children, or the elderly – it offers many benefits for adults as well. Napping is a wonderful way to recharge batteries and rejuvenate during the day, and can ideally make you feel more rested in just 15 to 20 minutes. However, waking up with a headache after a nap can be frustrating and disruptive to the rest of your day, it may even prevent you for taking naps in the first place.

Whether it is a dull ache or a throbbing sensation, post-nap headaches can put a damper on your productivity and overall well-being. Fortunately, there are several easy and effective ways you can employ to get ride of headaches after naps, and get back to feeling your best.

In this article, we will explore the possible causes of post-nap headaches and provide you with actionable tips to bid them farewell.

Table of Contents

Benefits Of Napping For Adults

Napping should not be overlooked in adulthood. They can be healing and necessary to performance and well-being.

A well-timed nap can boost productivity and enhance cognitive function. Taking a brief nap during the day can improve alertness, concentration, and memory, allowing you to perform tasks more efficiently.

Additionally, napping provides an opportunity for relaxation and stress reduction, helping to combat the demands and pressures of daily life. It can enhance the mood, reduce irritability, and promote emotional well-being. Have you had moments during the day, when you feel stuck in a downward spiral of bad mood and irritability? Have you considered laying down in silence and solitude for a few minutes, and closing your eye, shutting your mind, and resting?

Additionally, napping has been linked to improved creativity and problem-solving skills, as it allows the brain to consolidate information and make new connections – just as you do as night during sleep.

Lastly, napping can contribute to overall physical health by reducing fatigue, enhancing immune function, and lowering the risk of cardiovascular problems. Incorporating regular, short naps into your day can significantly enhance your mental and physical well-being, making you more alert, focused, and resilient.

Napping is good at all ages and life stages. We live in a culture that recognizes the daily grind and values constant action, work, and busyness. But do not underestimate the power of shutting down and investing in yourself with a nap. It may not be hugely popular in our Western culture, but the benefits largely outweigh the gossiping!

Let’s take a look at what a power nap is, as just a few minutes of your day can have a hugely positive impact on your days, productivity, well-being, relationship with others, and overall family time.

What Is A Power Nap?

A power nap is a short period of sleep (a short nap) taken during the day, typically lasting between 10 to 20 minutes. Unlike longer naps, which can leave you feeling groggy and disoriented upon waking, a power nap is strategically designed to provide quick rejuvenation and enhance alertness without entering deep sleep stages.

Are Power Naps Effective?

The purpose of a power nap is to give your brain and body a brief respite to recharge and reset, boosting energy levels and improving cognitive function. The name “power nap” stems from its ability to quickly restore vitality and enhance productivity, making it an ideal option for individuals seeking a quick and effective energy boost.

By keeping the nap duration short and avoiding deep sleep, a power nap helps to prevent sleep inertia, allowing you to wake up feeling refreshed, focused, and ready to tackle the remainder of the day. As you may have already guessed, sleep inertia will be discussed below as one of the reasons you get up with headache after a nap!

Best Amount Of Time For A Power Nap

The optimal power nap length varies from one person to another, but generally, the most effective duration for a power nap is around 10 to 20 minutes. Here’s why:

  1. Preventing Sleep Inertia: Power naps aim to provide a quick energy boost without entering deep sleep stages. Sleeping for less than 20 minutes helps avoid falling in deep sleep, which can lead to sleep inertia—a state of grogginess and disorientation upon waking (and you guessed it – headaches). By keeping the nap short, you’re more likely to wake up feeling refreshed and alert.

  2. Enhancing Alertness: Research suggests that a 10- to 20-minute power nap can significantly enhance alertness, cognitive function, and productivity. Keeping it to this short duration allows you to experience the benefits of sleep, such as improved memory consolidation and mental clarity, without entering the deeper stages of sleep that can cause grogginess and are hard to come out of, especially if you are disrupted and wake during one of them.

  3. Avoiding Nighttime Sleep Disruption: Longer naps, such as those lasting 30 minutes or more, can potentially disrupt your regular sleep patterns and make it more difficult to fall asleep at night. Keeping your power nap length short helps prevent interference with your nighttime sleep and ensures you’re still able to fall asleep quickly and get a full night’s rest.

  4. Adjusting to Personal Needs: While 10 to 20 minutes is a recommended length for a power nap, it is important to listen to your body and adjust based on your individual needs. Some people may find that a shorter or slightly longer nap works better for them. Experimentation and paying attention to how you feel (i.e., headache, energy, mood, etc.) after different nap duration can help you determine the ideal length for your power nap.

Remember that it is essential to time your power nap strategically. Taking a nap too close to bedtime or in the late afternoon may interfere with your nighttime sleep routine. Additionally, finding a quiet and comfortable environment, using an alarm to ensure you don’t oversleep, and allowing yourself a few minutes to wake up gradually after the nap can further optimize the benefits of your power nap.

Let’s now take a look at what causes headaches after a nap.

Understanding the Causes Of Headaches After Naps

To effectively tackle post-nap headaches, it is essential to understand their underlying causes. Why do you wake up with a headache after a nap? While the exact reasons can vary from one person to the next, here are some common factors that might contribute to your headaches:

Sleep Inertia

When we wake up abruptly from deep sleep, our bodies experience a state called sleep inertia. Have you ever had to wake up in the middle of the night, and felt disoriented, did not remember where you were, and had a hard time keeping your balance? That time of confusion is referred to as sleep inertia.

This transitional period can trigger headaches, grogginess, and a general feeling of malaise. If we wake up abruptly during or immediately after deep sleep, our bodies and brains need time to transition and adjust to the waking state.

The duration and intensity of sleep inertia can vary among individuals. Some may experience mild grogginess and recover quickly, while others may feel more pronounced impairment and take longer to regain full alertness (i.e., lack of balance, mental confusion, confusion in place / time / being, etc.). Factors such as the duration and quality of sleep, the depth of sleep, and individual differences in sleep patterns can influence the severity of sleep inertia.

Unfortunately, sleep inertia can negatively impact cognitive performance, reaction time, memory recall, and overall functioning immediately after waking. It may take several minutes to up to an hour for sleep inertia to dissipate completely, depending on the person and the circumstances.

Dehydration

Lack of water intake, both before and during your nap, can lead to dehydration, which is a known trigger for headaches. Per the Cleveland Clinic, headache pain from dehydration can range from mild to severe, and can encompass the whole head or be felt in a just one spot of your head.

Dehydration due to headaches are typically due to reduced blood volumes (blood needs water), which means less oxygen and nutrients gets to your brain. Dehydration can also cause the blood vessels in your body to become constricted, in order to conserve water. Unfortunately, the constriction limits the blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain as well, leading to headache.

Lastly, dehydration often involves the loss of essential electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium, which are crucial for maintaining proper hydration and nerve function. Electrolytes help regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions, and nerve signaling. When these electrolytes become imbalanced due to dehydration, it can trigger headaches.

Sleeping Environment

Factors such as noise, light, or an uncomfortable sleeping position can disrupt the quality of your nap and potentially contribute to post-nap headaches.

If you sleep during the day, and there are loud ambient noises (i.e., construction, kids, animals, roads, etc.) you may want to invest in a white-noise machine or noise-canceling earplugs. You could also play gentle soothing music or guided meditation tracks to induce sleep and keep away noises.

Excessive light can also contribute to a poor sleeping environment. Eye masks and blackout curtains can do a fabulous job at setting the scene for sleep during the day.

Lastly, using a weighted blanket can help drift into quick sleep, as it applies gentle full-body pressure, helping release sleep and pleasure hormones, and reduce stress hormones (i.e., cortisol), helping you put away the day’s stress and rest more peacefully.

Sleep Disorders

Certain sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea or insomnia, can impact the quality of your nap and increase the likelihood of experiencing headaches afterward.

7 Effective Ways To Get Rid Of Headache After Nap

Now that we have an understanding of the causes of post-nap headaches, let’s delve into practical solutions to alleviate the headaches.

1- Wake Up Gradually

Instead of abruptly jolting awake and jumping to your feet, take a few minutes to transition out of sleep mode. Stretch your body, move slowly, and give yourself time to adjust. You could even work through a gentle-rise 5-minute guided meditation to gently rise. This gentle awakening can help reduce the intensity of post-nap headaches caused by sleep inertia.

2- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Keeping your body well-hydrated is crucial for overall health and can significantly impact headache occurrence. Ensure you drink enough water throughout the day, including before and after your nap, and even if not napping. Hydration helps prevent dehydration headaches, especially if your nap leaves you feeling parched.

Note that proper daily hydration (through water is best) is essential to overall physical and mental wellbeing. When you notice your pee color getting darker, grab a glass of water. Ongoing dehydration can lead to urinary and kidney conditions, seizures, or low-blood volume shock. Those are serious conditions, on top of headaches, and you should make sure you consume enough water throughout the day to remain well. 

3- Create a Restful Environment

Crafting a peaceful sleep environment is essential for a refreshing nap and headache prevention. Dim the lights, reduce noise distractions, and find a comfortable spot with proper support. Invest in blackout curtains or an eye mask to create a dark sleeping environment that promotes quality rest.

If noise is an issue, invest in quality noise-canceling earplugs that allow you to move your head freely, or a white-noise machine.

Using apps such as this free library of guided meditations, breathworks, music, courses, and yoga sessions, can be a great way to blockout noises and distractions and focus on sleep and rest during your naps.

4- Establish a Consistent Sleep Routine

Maintaining a regular sleep schedule can work wonders for preventing post-nap headaches. Try to establish a consistent sleep routine, including napping at the same time each day, if possible. Your body will become accustomed to the pattern, reducing the chances of headaches.

5- Consider Sleep Apnea or Insomnia

If your post-nap headaches persist despite implementing these measures, it may be worth consulting a healthcare professional. Conditions such as sleep apnea or insomnia can affect the quality of your nap and lead to headaches. A medical expert can evaluate your symptoms and provide appropriate guidance or treatment.

6- Incorporate Relaxation Techniques

Before and after your nap, engage in relaxation techniques to soothe your mind and body. Deep breathing exercises, meditation, or gentle stretching can help alleviate muscle tension and reduce the likelihood of headaches.

Again, the free Insight Timer app can be very useful in guiding you through those easy exercises. You will notice that practice helps your body respond to those relaxation exercises and the more you practice, the more you will get out of your sessions. They do not have to be long, and just a quick 5-minute exercise can make a world of a different in getting rid of headaches after a nap.

7- Monitor Caffeine Intake

While caffeine can provide a quick energy boost, consuming it too close to your nap time can interfere with your ability to fall asleep and potentially cause headaches. Be mindful of your caffeine consumption and allow enough time for it to leave your system before your nap.

On the other hand, if you do wake up with a headache, consider drinking a cup of coffee or tea to naturally combat your headache. While this is not an effective way to prevent headaches… it is a natural way to tackle a headache without the use of medication, should you wake up with one. Mayo Clinic does warn coffee drinker of caffeine withdrawal headaches, where heavy coffee drinkers will be subject to headaches for a while (up to a couple of weeks) after lowering their consumption, as the blood vessels in their brain will enlarge due to lack of caffeine.

When Is The Best Time To Nap?

The best time to nap can vary depending on individual preferences, daily schedules, and sleep patterns. However, there are a few general guidelines to consider when determining the ideal time for your nap:

  1. Mid-Afternoon: The early- to mid-afternoon, around 1 to 3 p.m., is often considered an optimal window for a nap. During this time, many people experience a natural dip in energy levels, commonly known as the “post-lunch slump.” Taking a nap during this period can help combat fatigue and improve alertness for the remainder of the day without interfering with nighttime sleep. Ensure that you have not drunken caffeine too close to that time, as it may impair your ability to fall asleep.

  2. Personal Energy Patterns: Pay attention to your own energy patterns and determine when you typically feel the most fatigued or sluggish during the day. If you consistently experience a drop in energy in the late morning or early evening, adjusting your nap time to coincide with these periods may be beneficial.

  3. Avoiding Late Naps: It’s generally recommended to avoid taking naps too close to your regular bedtime. Napping late in the day, especially within a few hours of your intended bedtime, can disrupt your nighttime sleep and make it harder to fall asleep that night.

  4. Duration and Intention: Consider the purpose of your nap and the amount of time you have available. If you’re looking for a quick energy boost, or to enhance alertness, a shorter power nap of 10 to 20 minutes is recommended. If you have more time available and want to experience a more restorative nap, you can opt for a longer nap of around 60 to 90 minutes, which includes a full sleep cycle. Just be aware of the increased risk for a post-nap headache as your body works its way through longer sleep cycles.

Remember that individual preferences and lifestyle factors can influence the best time for your nap. It is essential to find a time that works within your daily routine and allows you to experience the benefits of the nap without disrupting your overall sleep schedule. Experiment with different nap times and durations to determine what works best for you and adjust as needed.

 

How To Get Rid Of Headache After Nap

Post-nap headaches can be a nuisance, but by implementing these 7 easy strategies, you can effectively minimize or eliminate them from your life. From waking up gradually to creating a restful environment and staying hydrated, these tips will help you bid farewell to post-nap headaches and enjoy the benefits of a rejuvenating nap. Remember that each person is unique, so experiment with these techniques and discover what works best for you. Here’s to headache-free napping and a healthier, more vibrant you!

References

FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers

Post-nap headaches can occur due to various factors. One possible cause is sleep inertia, which is the transitional state of grogginess and disorientation that occurs when we wake up abruptly from deep sleep. Dehydration can also contribute to post-nap headaches. Additionally, environmental factors, such as noise or an uncomfortable sleeping position, can disrupt the quality of your nap and potentially lead to headaches.

To prevent post-nap headaches, several strategies can be helpful. Gradually waking up after a nap instead of abruptly jolting awake can minimize the intensity of sleep inertia and subsequent headaches. Staying well-hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day, including before and after your nap, can also help prevent dehydration-related headaches. Creating a restful sleep environment, with dim lights, reduced noise, and a comfortable sleeping position, can contribute to headache prevention as well.

In most cases, post-nap headaches are not a sign of a serious health issue. They are typically related to factors such as sleep inertia, dehydration, or environmental disruptions. However, if you experience severe or persistent headaches after napping, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional. They can evaluate your symptoms, medical history, and perform any necessary examinations to rule out underlying health conditions that may be causing the headaches.

There isn’t a specific duration of a nap that universally triggers headaches. The impact of nap duration on headaches can vary among individuals. However, longer naps, particularly those that involve entering deep sleep stages, can increase the likelihood of sleep inertia and subsequent headaches upon waking. To minimize the risk of post-nap headaches, it is generally recommended to keep naps short, around 10 to 20 minutes, to avoid entering deep sleep and experiencing sleep inertia.

Yes, dehydration can be a contributing factor to post-nap headaches. When the body is dehydrated, it can lead to reduced blood volume and constriction of blood vessels, including those in the brain. These effects can compromise oxygen and nutrient delivery to the brain, potentially triggering headaches.

More Sleep Resources

why do we need sleep
Sleep Info

Why Do We Need Sleep

WHY DO WE NEED SLEEP? Unveiling the Secrets Behind a Good Night’s Rest In the hustle and bustle of modern life, sleep often takes a

Read More »

Why do I get a headache after napping?

Post-nap headaches can occur due to various factors. One possible cause is sleep inertia, which is the transitional state of grogginess and disorientation that occurs when we wake up abruptly from deep sleep. Dehydration can also contribute to post-nap headaches. Additionally, environmental factors, such as noise or an uncomfortable sleeping position, can disrupt the quality of your nap and potentially lead to headaches.

How can I prevent post-nap headaches?

To prevent post-nap headaches, several strategies can be helpful. Gradually waking up after a nap instead of abruptly jolting awake can minimize the intensity of sleep inertia and subsequent headaches. Staying well-hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day, including before and after your nap, can also help prevent dehydration-related headaches. Creating a restful sleep environment, with dim lights, reduced noise, and a comfortable sleeping position, can contribute to headache prevention as well.

Are post-nap headaches a sign of a more serious health issue?

In most cases, post-nap headaches are not a sign of a serious health issue. They are typically related to factors such as sleep inertia, dehydration, or environmental disruptions. However, if you experience severe or persistent headaches after napping, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional. They can evaluate your symptoms, medical history, and perform any necessary examinations to rule out underlying health conditions that may be causing the headaches.

Is there a specific duration of a nap that can trigger headaches?

There isn't a specific duration of a nap that universally triggers headaches. The impact of nap duration on headaches can vary among individuals. However, longer naps, particularly those that involve entering deep sleep stages, can increase the likelihood of sleep inertia and subsequent headaches upon waking. To minimize the risk of post-nap headaches, it is generally recommended to keep naps short, around 10 to 20 minutes, to avoid entering deep sleep and experiencing sleep inertia.

Can dehydration be a contributing factor to post-nap headaches?

Yes, dehydration can be a contributing factor to post-nap headaches. When the body is dehydrated, it can lead to reduced blood volume and constriction of blood vessels, including those in the brain. These effects can compromise oxygen and nutrient delivery to the brain, potentially triggering headaches.

Share this deal with a friend!

Picture of Laura Georgieff
Laura Georgieff

Laura is a mother of three who did not sleep through the night for the first 5.5 years of her kids' lives. She is passionate about sleep quality and loves sharing her experience and knowledge of all thing bedding! It is her mission to help you make the best decisions when it comes to sleep and help you get the best deal on the market!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Nest Bedding Owl mattress review

Exclusive Deal of the moment!

Use exclusive code NBR50OFF for an extra $50 OFF any Nolah mattress (for our readers only). That’s up to $1,050 OFF your new Nolah mattress + 2 FREE Pillows!

Voted Best Mattress 2024.

Extra $50 OFF Orders $800+

current deal we love: NOLAH EVOLUTION - BEST MATTRESS 2023