If you wake up with a headache more than half of the time, you should be evaluated for sleep apnea. Morning headaches are a familiar sign of sleep apnea, and 75% of people suffer. If you suffer from morning headaches, you are 8 times more likely to have sleep apnea than a person who doesn’t suffer from morning headaches. It’s essential to get a sleep test, be diagnosed, and begin treatment to avoid the severe health consequences associated with sleep apnea.

Don’t live with the pain of morning headaches, and don’t just take medication to mask the pain. Reduce or eliminate them with treatment from our Omaha sleep dentists.

Types of Headaches

The type of headache that is most commonly associated with sleep apnea has most of these characteristics:

  • You experience it when you first wake up
  • It occurs more than half of the time (more than 15 days a month)
  • It feels like pressure on both sides of the head and doesn’t come with:
  • Light sensitivity
  • Sound sensitivity
  • Nausea
  • It goes away within a half-hour of waking
  • Resolves within 3 days of starting sleep apnea treatment and doesn’t return

However, research has shown that other types of headaches can be triggered in sleep apnea sufferers, including:

  • Migraines headaches can best be described as pain in the face or neck, usually throbbing in one area. You might also have sensitivity to light and sound, causing nausea and distorted vision. Migraines are generally caused by a “migraine trigger” such as stress or certain types of foods and drinks. In some cases, a cluster headache, tension headache, or chronic daily headaches can cause stress that triggers a migraine.
  • Tension headache is the most common type of headache. They can feel like a dull, painful tightness and pressure around your forehead, eyes, head, and neck.
  • Cluster headaches are one of the most painful types since they can wake you in the middle of the night with intense discomfort about your eyes and head. Cluster headaches can last weeks or even months for those unlucky enough to have them.
  • Hypnic headaches, although a very rare type of headache, can often happen to individuals suffering from them. Hypnic headaches wake patients in the middle of the night but sound and feel like an alarm clock in your head.

If you get any of these, you should talk to a doctor.

If you have been diagnosed with any of these types of headaches and experience them often, it’s time to seek treatment. Migraines have a very strong relationship with sleep apnea, increasing severity and frequency as sleep apnea worsens. Tension headaches may be related to a lack of quality sleep, but they may also be triggered by the body’s attempts to restore breathing during apneic episodes. This causes the body to tense neck, jaw, and face muscles, leading to tension headaches. Hypnic headaches are most likely occur at night.

Effective Treatment For Headaches and Migraines

There are many sleep and headache disorders that can cause headaches, but sleep apnea is the one where treatment has the best chance of success. Studies have shown that sleep apnea treatment not only reduces your headaches but can also reduce your tension headaches, migraine headaches, and cluster headaches too.

Stay Away From Dangerous Sleep Medications

If your doctor suspects a disorder, they may prescribe sleep medications, especially if you report morning headaches. Talk to your doctor about your risk, and never take sedative-hypnotic drugs (such as Ambien).

Dr. Melissa Sheets is the foremost expert in headache treatment in Omaha, Nebraska. She can help you get the treatment that is comfortable, convenient, effective, and covered by insurance. Please contact our migraine treatment dentist for an appointment.