Morning headaches

I have bronchiectasis, and there are times that I get very congested during the night. When I wake up in the early morning, I have a huge headache. I'm thinking it's because as the night hours pass, my breathing is more and more shallow, so I'm getting lower oxygen levels into my lungs, therefore not enough oxygen going to the brain.

When my lungs are clearer, I'm less likely to have a morning headache.


17 Replies

  • I have a nasty headache most mornings too, Beth. I put it down to side effects of the drugs we take, violent nighttime coughing bouts, and poor sleep. I don't think it's lack of O2 in my case, as my SATS are good. It's a pain though, literally!

  • Hi Beth,

    I use one of these to monitor my oxygen levels overnight (sleep apnoea in addition to COPD). Of course it won't make you better but it does give an indication if something is wrong and you can take printed results to the GP to show them ... assuming they are as bad as mine are and therefore do nothing unless it's presented to them on a plate!

    Good luck

  • Cheers for the link to that product. Exactly what I was looking for.

  • Hi Beth, I have a huge headache now, I took two paracetamol in the middle of the night but they didn't give much relief. My sinuses hurt too and my nose is dripping....yuck!

    I think I breathe more deeply at night, even though I use lots of pillows, or maybe I have reacted to something I ate yesterday.....I tried Miso Soup for the first time.

    The headache usually gets better when I sit up for a while, but sometimes it can last all day. You have my sympathies .

  • Perhaps you need to prop yourself up on pillows when you sleep? I'm gooey first thing in the morning too and need a good clear-out. Can't sleep on my back because it makes me cough. This temperature doesn't help - there never seems to be enough fresh air! Roll on Autumn.

  • I sleep propped up some times, but I feel that my lungs will drain easier if I'm lying flat at night.

    I may try it tonight and see if I have a headache tomorrow am. It's only when during the days that I have a lot of congestion that I have this issue.

    Thanks for all the responses, this is what is great about this website, Beth

  • I also have bronchiectasis although not the headaches described here. I do find that occasionally during the night if i am woken by a tight chest and breathing problems it is helpful if I sit upright and let gravity does its work. My condition is currently stable but there is a mild exacerbation due to the warmer weather we are experiencing, even here in Scotland. I dread to think what it must be like in the south, such as London.

  • I live in the states and we are experiencing unusual hot weather, in fact the whole summer has been hot. I can't tolerate the hot weather. Fortunately, most homes have air conditioning so I stay indoors, or when we have the the water park.

  • I have the same as you and have just had a spell in hospital, I am a retainer and my carbon dioxide was too high and thumping headaches on waking can be a syptom. My oxygen levels were lowered and the headaches have stopped, I would ask to have your blood gases checked.

  • Thanks for the advise, I will mention it to my specialist.

  • I had this too until I went on the breathing machine ( non invasive ventilator). You need to be monitored overnight to see what is happening to your co2 levels. I had a thing to wear at home then the hospital team took the readings off it. Since I have been on the machine, no morning headache.

  • Hi Beth not been on here for a long time due to husband been terminal cancer.I have just seen Ronnies post.I would agree about blood gases and getting one of the Sat monitors.It would be very wise to go get seen just last year I ended up on life support due to been a c02 retainer it was neglect when attending hospital for scan I can't lie flat my says just plummet.For all I had a card to show the maximum amount of oxygen that they could administer a nurse slapped a masked on me kept turning oxygen up until it put me into respiratory and heart failure.Please let me know how you go I am now on Bipap for life take care x

  • Meant sats not say sorry

  • I have bronchiectasis too and also sometimes wake with a headache - usually at the side of my head - at the temple. Like you I'm sure its because our breathing is very shallow when we are sleeping. I am on ambulatory oxygen now and have a finger monitor (probably not the right name :) ) so I check my oxygen levels when I get back to bed after going to the bathroom during the night. It has often dropped so I use my oxygen to top up again and that seems to work. If you aren't on oxygen then perhaps you can do some deep breathing if you wake during the night.

  • I am not on oxygen, but I will try your deep breathing when I use the bathroom during the night. Lately, I've been using my nebulizer during the night as well.

  • I have a finger monitor for oxygen level as well, I'll check it when I get up during the night or when I wake up in the morning.

    Thanks for the suggestion.

  • that would be my guess too, I do better now with oxygen on all night.

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