What Is a Sleep Apnea Headache?

A sleep apnea headache is characterized by the following traits:

  • Present when you wake up
  • It is very common (occurring more than half of the time)
  • You experience pressure on both sides of the head, but no symptoms common with migraines, such as nausea and light or sound sensitivity
  • Headache typically resolves within half an hour of waking

Since they can be a very nonspecific symptom, we may not be 100% sure that yours are caused by sleep apnea until after we begin treatment. Most related headaches resolve completely after treatment begins.

However, some people actually experiencing other headache types that can be worsened by sleep apnea. This includes migraines, tension headaches, cluster headaches, or hypnic headaches.

Headache & Migraine Treatment

Young blonde woman having migraine headaches may need help to relieve the pain

Although treatment can completely resolve morning headaches, it may also improve other types as well. For example, a recent study looked at the effect of sleep apnea treatment on migraines. While subjects saw their frequency of migraines drop by 95%. Their intensity of migraines dropped about 90%, their lost time from work dropped by 75%, and they stopped having days when they couldn’t enjoy leisure activities.

The only problem with the study was that it relied only on CPAP for treating sleep apnea. Which meant that less than half of the participants were still using the treatment by the end of the study.

Morning Headaches, Sleep Apnea, and Other Sleep Disorders

Not all researchers agree that morning headaches are specific to sleep apnea. They may also impact people with insomnia and other types of sleep disorders. Although they may serve as a warning, the only way to know for sure if sleep apnea is responsible is with a sleep test that is analyzed by a physician.

If you experience morning headaches and migraines and are looking for a convenient and effective treatment, please contact the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center in Omaha or give us a call at (402) 493-4175.