Hypnic Headache, also known as “alarm clock headache”, is a relatively uncommon type of headache disorder. This headache syndrome occurs, almost exclusively, after or around the age of 50 and is slightly more prominent in women; ration 2:1. Clinical features include recurrent episodes of dull or throbbing head pain, during sleep or early hours of the morning. Patients often are awakened from sleep. Headaches tend to occur greater or equal to 10 days per month, and persist for at least 15 minutes, no more than 2-3 hours. Head pain intensity is moderate to severe and can be disabling. Headaches may or may not be associated with migrainous features to include nausea, vomiting, photophobia, and phonophobia. Trigeminal autonomic features may be present as well, although not required for diagnosis. Common comorbid conditions include hypertension and migraine.
The diagnosis of Hypnic Headache is clinical, with a key feature of absence daytime attacks which distinguishes hypnic headache from most other types. This can be a chronic syndrome lasting many years.
The Manhattan Center for Headache and Neurology has competent providers for further evaluation and potential treatment options.
By: Jordan Shankle, PA