Waking up in the morning is challenging for most people. Even when the biggest feat is to drag your tired body out from under your cozy blankets and go to the kitchen to make your coffee, this part of your day can be downright brutal if you frequently wake up with a headache. You might think that you are suffering from migraines and that there is not much you can do except suffer through it or take medication to try to ease your pain. But your problem might actually be related to something else — sleep apnea.
How Sleep Apnea Can Cause Headaches
Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes an individual to stop breathing periodically throughout the night. It usually happens because tissues in the throat fully or partially obstruct the airway. As this occurs over and over, air becomes trapped in the lungs. This de-oxygenated air is full of toxic carbon dioxide, which builds up in the bloodstream and causes vessels in the brain to dilate. The dilation results in a painful headache that feels very similar to a migraine. It is estimated that up to 50 percent of people who wake up with headaches have sleep apnea and don’t know it.
The Difference between Sleep Apnea Headaches and Migraines
If you regularly wake up with head pain, it is important that you know the differences between sleep apnea headaches and true migraines. Armed with this information, you will be in a better position to seek appropriate treatment to feel better. Some of the key differences between these two types of head pain include:
- Sleep apnea headaches usually disappear within an hour or so of waking. A migraine may linger for several hours or even several days.
- A migraine is typically on one side of the head, while a sleep apnea-induced headache may affect both sides.
- Migraines often have additional symptoms, such as visual impairment, light sensitivity, and nausea.
- Sleep apnea headaches may occur more frequently than migraines.
If you suspect you have sleep apnea headaches rather than migraines, long-lasting relief may be easy to find.
Put a Stop to Sleep Apnea Headaches
There are several types of therapy available to help sleep apnea sufferers rest better at night and prevent the oxygen deprivation that leads to frequent morning headaches. One of the most effective treatment options is oral appliance therapy. An oral appliance is a small, custom-fit device that moves the jaw forward to stop tissues in the throat from blocking the airway. It is convenient, comfortable, and effective for all levels of obstructive sleep apnea.
Are you tired of waking up with headaches? Relief may be as easy improving the quality of your sleep!
About the Author
Dr. Kenneth Mogell, a board-certified specialist in sleep medicine with over 10 years of experience treating sleep breathing disorders is the practice’s founder and primary practitioner. The practice has four South Florida locations: Boca Raton, Melbourne, Vero Beach, and Jupiter. To learn more about Florida Dental Sleep Disorders and Dr. Kenneth Mogell, contact our team at 844-294-7559.