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Does anyone experience a headache or migraine that starts at night?

I am a 42 yr-old male, and have been having either a headache or migraine that starts at night, and wakes me up from sleep either at 3 or 4 am. It is a dull headache, that does not hamper my daily activities, and lasts anywhere from a few hours to a few days Does anyone else have this issue?

I am not sure if this is a migraine or headache. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen is the only OTC medication I have attempted and it does not help. Rizatriptan was prescribed, and seemed to help a little.


Community Answers
  • ripeka
    3 weeks ago

    90% of my migraines start between 2am and 5:30am; they wake me and sometimes I can go back to sleep for a couple of hours BUT then upon the second wake, the pain is bad so I have learnt to take a rizatriptan at the first wakeup even if the pain feels only mild. Then I can sleep again and usually wake without pain. However, I feel groggy all morning at work. Because of information from this site, I have been able to identify the prodome phase sometimes as I will be extremely sleepy, yawning and fatigued all evening. Even if I go to bed early, it makes no difference. I have wondered whether these night migraines are sometimes related to/triggered by changes in sleep hormones but haven’t got an answer. I know that surefire triggers include almonds, sleep deprivation, too much gluten and stress. In recent years, I sometimes wake up in the morning eg 6am onwards with what I would classify as a dull headache rather than a migraine. I usually take OTC meds and get a little relief for an hour or tow but it doesn’t go away. I used to battle on for the day ignoring the general sense of unwellness, mild nausea, and background head pain, just living with it because “it’s not a migraine”. Recently however on several occasions, I tried taking rizatriptan eg at 2pm. Bam! An hour later without fail, I am pain free so I guess these “dull headaches” are also some sort of atypical migraine. I am just grateful that rizatriptan gives me good relief 80% of the time.

  • KathyR
    1 year ago

    This is exactly the way my migraines always started. I would wake up with a dull headache about 3 am. I would always take an imitrex immediately . But sometimes I could not get on
    top of it and so it would progress to a more severe headache and nausea that wouldn’t quit. In searching this site I came across one fellow’s “Cure” – I checked with my neurologist and he let me take the same meds-
    Here is what I now take- a combination of nortryptyline and propranolol every day. I have
    taken both of these meds independently , to no effect. Somehow, taking them both, each day does the trick! I haven’t had a migraine in 5 months of starting this regimen. I have never gone more than 2 weeks without a migraine before. It has been life changing.

  • LeilaniRL
    1 year ago

    My migraines usually start in the afternoons or evenings and wear me out. I’ll sleep for some hours, then wake up from the pain, and it feels like a hangover but worse. I drink loads of water, too.

    The only things I can use to make me sleep are a small glass of red wine, or TheraFlu. I haven’t tried melatonin, but sister swears by it. I’m not brave enough to try it.

  • manjuk75 author
    1 year ago

    Hangover is probably how I would describe my headaches too. Have doctors ever prescribed anything to ease the pain?

  • LeilaniRL
    11 months ago

    Sorry for the late response! I am taking fiorocet as my emergency, but midrin worked too. It’s just too expensive because only a few pharmacies can make it (at least that’s what was explained to me).

  • lizlight
    1 year ago

    I definately have this issue. Its like I go to sleep and get recharged and I slowly get drained though out the day by nighttime I feel ok to terrible and start going into a migraine with sound and light sensitivity. Then I just get some sleep and usally feel better in the morning. Some times it’s because I ate some foods that triggered me or I’m upset and overworked. Advil or any OTC medication does nothing to touch my head aches either. If you can find a sleep aid that will help keep you asleep so you can get adequate rest that helps me a lot and make sure to stay really really hydrated all day. Good luck!

  • manjuk75 author
    1 year ago

    How do you know if it’s migraines or headaches that you are having? Your idea of a hydration and sleep aid is a good one although I don’t want to try something for fear of side effects or habit forming. Have you been able to figure out what foods may be causing them?

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    1 year ago

    Hey there @manjuk75, Thanks so much for your question. While we cannot provide you with medical advice and/or say whether what you are experiencing is a migraine or not, as you wait for members to possibly share their experience, I wanted to pass along this article which discusses possible causes for nighttime headaches – https://migraine.com/living-migraine/nighttime-headaches-after-age-50/. Take good care. -Joanna (Migraine.com Team)

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