Postural Hypotension: The crux of my (sometimes) morning headaches!

If you’re anything like me, your own quirks/oddities/weirdness go neglected with your own body.

  • “Oh, that’s weird.”
  • “Hmm, that’s strange feeling.”
  • “Ah, that’s been happening for years…whateva!”

Don’t take this out of context. I listen to my body, and listening more than ever — thanks to the Whoop band.

Hello Whoop Band

I’ve only been Whoop-ing it up for 6 weeks, so I’m still trying to understand what the data means around recovery, strain, and sleep. Being a data junkie, I’m finding it incredibly enlightening — I’ve never worn a heart monitor before, so I’m constantly watching my numbers.

The most alarming (in a good way) data point was how low my resting heart rate is. It’s averaging 47 BPM, sometimes dipping even lower on some nights. That is indeed something to brag about.

For those wondering, that’s way below the average. Here’s Mayo Clinic’s take on RHR:

A normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute. Generally, a lower heart rate at rest implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness. For example, a well-trained athlete might have a normal resting heart rate closer to 40 beats per minute.

So, that’s AWESOME.

Could a low RHR be causing headaches?

Back to my quirks/oddities/weirdness.

Since my 20’s, I’ve had this issue where if I jump out of bed quickly in the morning, I get an immediate headache. It’s always been curable after some Tylenol and water.

But, it’s a thing.

I’ve always chalked it up to needing to take a few deep breaths and sitting up slowly upon waking. If it’s too fast, BOOM, instant brain crunch.

My recent discovery of my low RHR got me Googling, and after reading a few message boards and articles, I realized I’m not weird (well, in this way). I’m merely experiencing Orthostatic hypotension (postural hypotension):

Orthostatic hypotension — also called postural hypotension — is a form of low blood pressure that happens when you stand up from sitting or lying down. Orthostatic hypotension can make you feel dizzy or lightheaded, and maybe even faint.

[cite: Mayo Clinic]

Obviously, a resting heart rate in the mid-40’s plays a significant role here. My blood pressure is low, and when I quickly awake my body revolts and screams “Um, WHAT!” From my research, this is common in athletes (see CrossFit message board) and their bodies inability to increase blood pressure quickly when standing. This is not a disease, but a physical finding.

Much more to continue to research around Postural Hypotension and how to possibly minimize it — I’ve heard increasing sodium intake could help — but, I finally have my answer.

WHOOP there it is!