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Can Sleep Apnea Cause Headaches

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Through Treatment Of Sleep Apnea With Oral Appliance Therapy Patients Can Experience Improved Sleep While Also Resolving Headache Pain

A common indicator of sleep apnea is waking up with headaches. In fact, at least 50% of people who wake up with headaches might have sleep apnea.1 Another common problem that might cause headaches upon waking is bruxism . This means we as dentists need to pay close attention to what our patients are saying. When your patients complain of headaches, what do you do?

Sleep Apnea Headaches Vs Migraines: The Differences And Treatment Options

Are you prone to headaches? Being able to tell the difference between different headache symptoms and causes can help you better manage them on a day-to-day basis. The time of day that your headaches flare-up can be a good indication of what’s causing them. Especially if it’s first thing in the morning. 

How To Tell The Difference Between A Sleep Apnea Headache And A Migraine

Although there are overlapping symptoms between sleep apnea headaches and migraines, the two are both very different medical conditions.

Migraine sufferers tend to experience sensitivity to light and sound, or even endure nausea as the sharp headache pain starts to flare up. They often cause an “aura” where vision is slightly blurred, and the individual can tell they’re starting to develop a migraine before any symptoms of a headache actually set in. 

In sleep apnea headaches, there are other factors at play due to oxygen and sleep deprivation. Such as:

  • Sore teeth
  • Waking frequently throughout the night
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Falling asleep throughout the day
  • Headaches are worse first thing in the morning

If you suspect that you have a sleeping disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea you should speak to your medical provider and dentist immediately. Unmanaged OSA can significantly raise your risk of a cardiovascular attack. Your life could depend on it. 

Worried about having a sleep study done overnight at a clinic? Today, technology exists that allows most people to complete a formal sleep analysis in the comfort of their own home. Home sleep studies record your pulse, blood oxygen levels, breathing, snoring, and are formally interpreted by a licensed sleep physician. 

Migraine Sufferers At High Risk For Sleep Apnea And Other Disorders

A PPM Brief

According to a new study presented1 at the recent American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting, migraine sufferers, especially men with a history of chronic migraine, have a higher risk of sleep apnea and other sleep disturbances. In the presentation, researchers assessed the relationship of sleep disturbances and sleep apnea as comorbidities of episodic and chronic migraine by conducting a cross-sectional analysis of more than 12,800 participants who completed baseline and 3-month follow-up surveys over one year.

Researchers used a comorbidities/endophenotypes survey, based on the Berlin Scale for Sleep Apnea, and measured sleep disturbances through use of the Medical Outcomes Study Sleep Scale. Participants were also asked to report whether they had a diagnosis of any of these conditions. Results showed that 37% of participants were at high risk for sleep apnea , with 10.1% of participants self-reporting a sleep apnea diagnosis. Of those who self-reported a diagnosis, 75.7% reported a physician’s diagnosis.1

Participants also reported snoring , shortness of breath , daytime somnolence , and sleep inadequacy .1

She also noted that migraine sufferers should be educated and shown the benefits of proper sleep hygiene practices, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, and getting adequate hours of sleep for managing the disease.

Whats The Difference Between A Sleep Apnea Headache And A Migraine

Sleep Apnea Headaches vs. Migraines (Differences ...

If you wake up with head pain on a regular basis, it’s vitally important that you’re aware of the differences between sleep apnea headaches and true migraines.

With this information in mind, you’ll be in a much better position to receive the appropriate advice and treatment to feel better. Listed below are some of the key distinguishing differences between the two types of head pain.

  • Migraines are typically restricted to one side of the head, while sleep apnea headaches may affect both sides.
  • Sleep apnea-induced headaches commonly disappear within an hour of waking, whereas a migraine can persist for several hours, and even as long as a few days in some cases.
  • Sleep apnea headaches usually occur more frequently than migraines.
  • Migraines have a number of additional symptoms such as light sensitivity, visual impairment, and nausea.

Our Free Guide Gives You 5 Tools For Every Day Migraine Prevention

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Step by step formulas to get the most relief possible >>

Sleep Apnea And Migraine Headaches Page Refs:1. PPM Brief Migraine Sufferers At High Risk for Sleep Apnea and Other Disorders. Available at: Campbell, B. Solutions for Sleep. Available at: Kashef, Z. Exploring the mysteries of sleep with Dr. Meir Kryger. Available at: Study cited at Kristiansen, et. al. The Journal of Headache and Pain – Migraine and sleep apnea in the general population. Available at: Help Guide Sleep Apnea. Available at: Mayo Clinic Sleep Apnea. Available at:

Are There Any Other Things You Can Do To Help With Sleep Apnea

If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, there are a couple of things you can do to help. These may well be enough if your condition is only mild.

Firstly, try to lose weight if you’re overweight. Needless to say, this will help keep your body in the best shape possible to fight against, and treat, the disorder.

Secondly, try to sleep on your side. To help with this, many people buy a special pillow or bed wedge to keep them on their side.

Effect Of Snoring On Relationships Can Snoring Cause Headaches

Snoring can shred partnerships apart, particularly when you share your area with a partner or roommate. Obtaining grumpy when you can’t sleep is specifically frustrating when the individual who is disturbing your sleep is peacefully sleeping.

Couples may begin sleeping independently as an outcome of snoring, causing an absence of intimacy. Relationships endure as bitterness expands.

Snoring is a persistent condition endured by the snorer, yet chronic sleep deprival is suffered by the non-snoring partner.

The results of rest deprivation surpass making you dull and bad-tempered. Your emotional wellness is influenced by your cognitive capacities, judgment, and also decision-making abilities, along with your total emotional equilibrium. Diabetes and also heart problem are the outcomes of long-term results from lack of sleep.

As we specified above, there are usually many methods to settle or decrease the influence of something like this. Reliable interaction can relieve a good deal of the problems that snoring causes in relationships.

Together, you can conceptualize a plan to get rid of snoring, and also grow closer as a pair in the process. Can Snoring Cause Headaches

The Stop Snoring And Sleep Apnea Program By Christian Goodman


was created by a chronic snorer named Christian Goodman and is a natural, step by step system to firstly diagnose, and then implement strategic exercises to help cure your snoring for good.

There are different exercise routines depending on how much time you have available each day to do the exercises. They range from 3 minutes to 60 minutes.

The first step is diagnosing the underlying cause of your personal snoring.

The five most common causes of snoring are, THROAT closing up, TONGUE causing snoring, NASAL PROBLEMS, JAW causing snoring and The SOFT PALATE being too weak or big, causing snoring.

It is very helpful to know what causes your snoring, as the proper exercises can alleviate your snoring.

The founder of this program developed this comprehensive but simple exercise program that exercises, heals, and shapes up the whole area around and in the throat

Four groups of exercises have been developed to exercise and strengthen the whole area around and in the throat.

The Throat exercises will open up and strengthen your throat.

The Jaw exercises will loosen up and strengthen the muscles around your jaw.

The Tongue Exercises will strengthen and loosen up your tongue.

The Breathing exercises will open up the breathing passages and help you breathe lightly and easily night and day.

These four exercise groups are the basic foundations of the program.

All the exercises are interactive and will work together with the whole healing process.


What Are Symptoms That Could Suggest That I Have Sleep Apnea

  • Habitual snoring
  • Bariatric surgery for weight loss
  • Nocturnal oxygen

The CPAP mask is not always easy to tolerate. The pressure can even trigger migraines. Discuss other option with a Sleep Medicine specialist. 

The coverage of testing and treatments varies a lot. Considering the health consequences of untreated sleep apnea, it would be an advantage to our society to see this covered by public insurance. 

In summary, if your migraines have worsened, if you snore, if you have morning headaches…it might be a good idea to discuss sleep apnea testing with your physician. 


1. Buse DC, Rains JC, Pavlovic JM, Fanning KM, Reed ML, Manack Adams A, et al. Sleep Disorders Among People With Migraine: Results From the Chronic Migraine Epidemiology and Outcomes Study. Headache. 2019;59:32-45.

2. Ferini-Strambi L, Galbiati A, Combi R. Sleep disorder-related headaches. Neurol Sci. 2019;40:107-13.

3. Rains JC. Sleep and Migraine: Assessment and Treatment of Comorbid Sleep Disorders. Headache. 2018;58:1074-91.


The Difference Between Migraines And Sleep Apnea Headaches

    Can sleep apnea cause headaches? Yes.  Sleep apnea headaches in the morning are just one common side-effect of the syndrome. In fact, 50% of those who wake up with headaches are believed to have sleep apnea.

    Headaches are most commonly experienced by patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea when the oxygen level drops due to the intermittent breathing caused by obstructive sleep apnea . Sleep apnea causes air to be trapped in the lungs, and this de-oxygenated air is the waste product carbon dioxide. It builds up in the lungs and recycles into the bloodstream.  This lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, along with a build-up of carbon dioxide, negatively affects the brain and leads to sleep apnea headaches.

    According to Dr. Mark Edward Abramson, sleep apnea and TMJ specialist with the California Center for Craniomandibular Disorders, it is this increased level of carbon dioxide that causes the headache.  He explains, “Carbon dioxide as it rises causes the blood vessels in and around the head to dilate. This dilation results in a migraine-like headache that is throbbing and irritating. There are some important differences between sleep apnea headaches and migraines, though.”

    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.

    Make An Appointment With An Ear Nose And Throat Specialist

    Headache and Sleep – Sleep Talk

    Our doctors will review your medical history and symptoms, conduct a physical exam, and:

    • Order tests
    • Rule out other conditions
    • Refer you to a sleep specialist to test for sleep apnea if necessary

    Talk to us about other symptoms besides your headaches, especially if you have any of the following signs that may indicate you have sleep apnea:

    • Irritability
    • Refraining from taking sedatives

    The Connection Between Sleep Apnea Dizziness And Vertigo

      Sleep apnea is a condition that occurs when the airway becomes blocked during sleep. It can partially or completely stop the airflow, causing an individual to have disrupted, uncomfortable sleep. Even though it is a serious issue, many people do not realize they are living with it. If you have undiagnosed sleep apnea, you may feel fatigued upon waking or experience .

      Sleep apnea is known by many for the toll it can take on the human body, especially if left untreated. Sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure, heart problems, and increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. However, the effects of sleep apnea on the brain can be just as alarming, with some reporting serious side effects such as dizziness and vertigo.

      Dizziness and vertigo often go hand-in-hand and sometimes can even be used synonymously, but they are different. At one point, dizziness was a catch-all term for similar conditions including vertigo. Dizziness is an altered sense of spatial orientation and a distortion of where you are within a space, causing your balance to just feel off. Vertigo, on the other hand, is truly the sensation of self-movement or the movement of your surroundings—it’s literally a spinning sensation. 

      Morning Headaches Snoring Could Signal A Sleep Disorder

      July 17, 2001 — Those frequent morning headaches may not be the biggest of your problems. People who wake up often with headaches — especially snorers — may suffer from a disorder called sleep apnea, according to research presented last month in New York at the 10th International Headache Congress.

      Do you have trouble sleeping?Take this quick quiz.

      And sleep apnea should not be taken lightly. When untreated, it puts people at high risk for heart attack and stroke.

      There are two types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep. In central sleep apnea, the airway is not blocked but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe.

      Because breathing stops so often, the person does not receive sufficient oxygen, causing carbon dioxide to build in the blood. This affects the nervous system as well as blood flow to the brain, causing headache as well as memory and mood changes, says Jeanetta Rains, PhD.

      And the alteration in blood oxygen levels increases risk for cardiovascular problems, says Rains, director of the Center for Sleep Evaluation at Elliot Hospital in Manchester, N.H., and adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry at Dartmouth Medical School in Lebanon, N.H.

      In her study, Rains analyzed the various complaints of more than 800 patients being tested for sleep-related problems.

      Eliminate Nasal Congestions Can Snoring Cause Headaches

      Snoring is frequently the outcome of obstructed nasal flows. A cold can block them for simply a few days, but some of us are more vulnerable to having them obstructed for a long period of time.

      It may help them to open if you take a balmy shower before bed. Utilizing a nasal spray or blowing your nose before you go to rest also works well.

      A blocked nose that just occurs during the night suggests that you are responding to irritants in your bed room.

      Maintain your home tidy by dusting and also vacuuming on a regular basis. Make certain animals aren’t admitted your bedroom and button to hypoallergenic bed linen.

      Sleep Apnea And Headaches: Everything You Need To Know

        Are you frequently waking up in the mornings with a headache you can’t seem to explain? It could be that you’re experiencing a headache from untreated sleep apnea.

        What is a sleep apnea headache, and how do you know if you have one? Does sleep apnea give you headaches?

        We’ll cover that and more in this in-depth guide. Stick with us as we cover everything you need to know about the connection between headaches, CPAP therapy, and sleep apnea.

        How Do You Get Rid Of A Recurring Sleep Apnea Headache

        Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep condition when a person intermittently stops breathing during sleep. Symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring and morning headaches. At Advanced Ear, Nose & Throat Associates in Atlanta, GA, we’ll help you get rid of your recurring sleep apnea headache along with the symptoms that come with it.

        So What Should A Migraine Sufferer With Sleep Apnea Do

        While there isn’t a clear connection between the two, there are still a few ways you can treat your migraines and improve your sleep. We turned toHarvard Medical School and Dr. Mauskop who suggested the following tips. While they may feel obvious, we bet you could use this reminder of just how important they are.

        • Avoid exercising before bed. Try not to exercise within one to two hours of going to bed. A Harvard health publication notes intense exercise within an hour of bedtime can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
        • Develop a consistent sleep routine. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time is often an effective way to reduce your migraines. Additionally, consider spending more time in natural light during the day and avoid screens just before going to sleep.
        • Eat lighter evening meals. That late-night binge might be fun, but it could also be keeping you up at night, especially if you’re already struggling with migraine.
        • Go to sleep when you’re truly tired. How many times have you stared at your clock when you’re trying to sleep? Whenever this happens, Harvard Medical suggests, getting up and doing something relaxing until you feel tired.
        • Practice good sleep hygiene. Avoiding reading or watching TV in bed as much as possible. If you have to look at a screen , make the screen as dim as possible.

        Is There A Connection Between Sleep Apnea And Vertigo

        Vertigo is a type of dizziness that comes on unexpectedly, or it can be an ongoing issue. For some, it presents itself as a feeling of spinning while for others it feels as though the world around a person is unsteady or shifting.

        Vertigo is an inner-ear and balance disorder that can be caused by anything that affects the inner ear. For many, it begins with an ear infection or something similar. However, anything that affects the brain can transfer to the inner ear quite easily. This means that sleep apnea could be a factor leading to vertigo since it decreases the amount of quality sleep and reduces the amount of oxygen that goes to the brain.

        Right now, some of you are probably wondering about the link between CPAP therapy and vertigo. CPAP machines are one of the most common and effective treatments for sleep apnea. It involves pumping extra air through a face mask to open up the airway and improve the flow of oxygen to the body.

        However, could this extra air be causing pressure changes that lead to dizziness or vertigo? CPAP use has been linked to increases in air pressure in the ear. The positive air pressure is believed to travel through the eustachian tube into the middle ear and can cause problems. The eustachian tube is a canal that connects the middle ear to the upper part of the throat behind the nose.

        Again, this is unfortunately another area that hasn’t been well studied. It’s possible this may be what’s causing your vertigo, but we don’t know for sure.

        Robust Association Between Migraine And Sleep Apnea

        Morning Headaches Sleep Apnea

        Pauline Anderson

        June 26, 2017

        AMSTERDAM — Patients with migraine, especially chronic migraine, are at increased risk for sleep disturbances, including sleep apnea , a new study suggests.

        About 37% of patients with migraine responding to a survey were deemed to be at high risk for  SA, which is much higher than estimates in the general population.

        And because over 75% of migraine respondents with SA were diagnosed by a physician, “it may be worthwhile to start asking our patients about this,” said Dawn C. Buse, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist and associate professor, Department of Neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, New York City.

        “We haven’t tested this yet, but the hope is that if sleep apnea is associated with more frequent headaches, treating sleep apnea might benefit headache.”

        Dr Buse, who is also director of behavioral medicine for the Montefiore Headache Center in New York City, presented the new results from the Chronic Migraine Epidemiology and Outcomes study at the Congress of the European Academy of Neurology 2017.

        Both depression and anxiety have a bidirectional relationship with migraine, Dr Buse told delegates. Such a relationship also exists in sleep disorders; sleep disorders can aggravate migraine and migraines can worsen sleep disorders.

        Researchers recruited participants from an online panel by using quota sampling. Survey invitations were sent to 16,763 CaMEO study respondents, of whom 12,810 provided valid data.

        Can Sleep Apnea Cause Dizziness And Lightheadedness

        Unexplained dizziness is a bothersome symptom for many. It can make it challenging to work, complete household chores, and pursue many favorite hobbies. There are many causes for dizziness, so if it is an ongoing concern, it should be discussed with a doctor. However, one common root cause of dizziness is sleep apnea.

        When you are dizzy, you feel lightheaded and disoriented. The lightheadedness is the part of it where it feels like you are going to faint. 

        Most commonly, those who have sleep apnea and dizziness will feel it most severely first thing in the morning. You may be suffering from sleep apnea dizziness if you wake up disoriented and have to take a few extra moments to get your bearings before you feel steady on your feet and safe to walk. This is usually caused because the brain has been deprived of oxygen during the night and not functioning at 100 percent first thing in the morning, so trying to switch from the laying down position to an upright and moving position becomes troublesome.

        At its most serious levels, this absence of oxygen is called hypoxemia, which can regress into hypoxia if left untreated long enough. When your body goes into hypoxia, vital organs begin shutting down due to a lack of oxygen. In aviation accidents involving cabin depressurization, for instance, hypoxia is frequently the cause of death. The absence of sufficient oxygen for breathing at high altitudes means vital organs quickly fail.

        Is There A Link Between Migraine And Sleep Apnea

        People with chronic migraine are more at risk for sleep apnea. Sleep disorders increase the risk of chronic headaches. There are many histories of migraine that deteriorated in the setting of sleep apnea improving with CPAP treatment. We do not know yet exactly how many people with chronic migraine have sleep apnea. 

        Are There Medications I Can Take For Sleep Apnea

        Trying to get a better sleep with medications is challenging because there is no single medication that has proven helpful in solving sleep problems for people with migraine. Also, you can develop tolerance to the drug, so that medication becomes less effective over time.

        For both of these reasons, sleep problems can often benefit from a flexible, experimental approach that utilizes a variety of strategies.

        There are a lot of over-the-counter products like Melatonin and Valerian, simple antihistamines such as Benadryl and Tylenol PM and Advil PM, or doxylamine .

        But… sleep apnea and migraine headaches, medication wise, can be tricky.

        It is not recommended to take certain medications if you have sleep apnea – I advise against it unless you work closely with your doctor who knows your whole health history.

        Using something natural and calming that will help both your sleep apnea and migraine headaches like – calcium, magnesium, 5-HTP, melatonin – these are much better options. “Other non-prescription sleep aids include passion flower and chamomile. Amino acids, such as L-theanine and L-tryptophan are sometimes helpful when other treatments fail.” 

        Sleep Apnea And Migraines: Is There A Connection

        Migraine Relief Center

          Some migraine specialists believe that most of their patients are not aware that they suffer from sleep breathing disorders. These are patients who tend to blame their migraines whenever they don’t get a good night’s sleep or when they feel restless and anxious. Sleep apnea is a condition that causes a temporary cessation of breathing when patients are in a soporific state; the most severe cases are obstructive and result in harsh snoring and gasping for air that may interrupt sleep several times.

          Obstructive sleep apnea occurs in about ten percent of adults. Soft, regular snoring is a form of sleep apnea that most patients, particularly men, are able to live with. Women are not as likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, but their health tends to be more deeply affected.

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