Man with a morning headache

Migraines vs. Sleep Apnea Headaches

Migraines often occur in the morning, upon awakening, similar to sleep apnea headaches. So how can you tell whether you are suffering from migraines or sleep apnea headaches?

Sleep Apnea Headaches

Sleep apnea headaches typically occur in the morning, immediately upon awakening. They occur often, perhaps 50% of the time or more. It occurs on both sides of the head. Normally, it will resolve within a half hour of wakening.

Perhaps the best test of sleep apnea headache is starting sleep apnea treatment, which should resolve your headache within three days.

Migraine Headaches in the Morning

Migraine headaches can also occur in the morning. The main distinguishing feature between sleep apnea headaches and migraines is that migraines come with nausea and sensitivity to lights, sounds, smells.

Migraines can last from three hours to three days. You may experience weakness, low mood, memory problems, and other symptoms for a week or so before the headache, not typically seen with sleep apnea headaches, which often come with these symptoms every day, regardless of whether there’s a headache or not.

Are Migraines and Sleep Apnea Headaches Unrelated?

Man with a morning headacheAlthough there is some research suggesting that sleep apnea and migraines are unrelated in the general population, there are many people who suffer from both conditions, and for people who have migraines and sleep apnea, sleep apnea treatment significantly reduces the number of migraine attacks, the length of attacks, and the severity of attacks. People who get their sleep apnea treated need less medicine, lose almost no time from work, and almost never need to skip recreational activities.

If you have migraines and suspect you might have sleep apnea, you should schedule a sleep test. To learn more about sleep tests and sleep apnea treatment options, please call  for an appointment with an Omaha sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.