Do you frequently wake up with morning headaches? If so, your headaches may be a result of sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder that affects breathing while sleeping. There are two types of sleep apnea: Obstructive and Central. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage in the airway and Central sleep apnea is a result of the brain failing to signal the muscles to breathe. Both restrict oxygen and blood flow to muscles and the brain.
So what causes morning headaches? Those with sleep apnea stop breathing during sleep, restricting oxygen and causing a buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood. This alteration in blood oxygen levels affects the nervous system and blood flow to the brain, causing morning headaches and affecting memory and mood.
Studies conducted on patients with sleep apnea found that 67% suffered from frequent morning headaches. It was also found that those with frequent headaches are 2.5 times more likely to snore than those who do not, proving that lack of oxygen during sleep causes chronic headaches.
Many people come to our offices believing their headaches to be the cause of their sleeping problems, when in fact it is the other way around and their headaches are a result of poor sleep. Sleep apnea should not be taken lightly, and if left untreated can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Meanwhile, the uncomfortable symptoms like chronic headaches or fatigue are just as destructive to your health. We conduct in-home sleep studies to determine whether you suffer from Sleep Apnea.
Remember, not all headaches are a result of a sleep disorder. Take this quiz to see if you are at risk for Sleep Apnea: http://www.talkaboutsleep.com/app/index.cfm?fuseaction=sleepQuiz.view