The sleep hangover
Do you ever wake up from a blissfully long sleep on Sunday morning to find that, instead of feeling rested, you have a crushing headache? This may seem like karma paying you back for an overindulgent sleep-in, but it actually has to do with your sleep cycle, says sleep researcher Helen Driver.
Though Driver says the phenomenon isn’t properly documented, she found that when she conducted studies of people who had stayed up for long periods of time trying to break Guinness World Records, the subjects would sometimes wake up from 12- or 14-hour recovery sleep with what she calls a “sleep hangover.” One possible reason: they were waking up from a deep phase of sleep. “Instead of waking from sleep that’s becoming lighter towards the end of a seven or eight hour sleep period, they go back into a cycle of starting deep sleep again,” she explains.
When you’re in a deep phase of sleep, your brain waves get bigger and slow down. When your brain quickly switches from this slow state to the fast and active state of being awake, it may cause a headache.
While these sleep hangovers can certainly put a damper on your brunch plans, there’s really no reason to be concerned about them. “Those headaches normally dissipate after an hour or two,” says Driver.