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What is Sleep Apnea and can it cause headaches?

When answering the question “can sleep apnea cause headaches” it is important to understand what sleep apnea is first. Sleep Apnea is a kind of sleep disorder where there is the occurrence of interrupted breathing during sleep. The breathing stops for 10 to 20 seconds, and this pattern occurs about ten times or more within an hour. The most common type of Sleep Apnea is the one called Obstructive sleep apnea which normally occurs when the muscles of the throat occasionally relax, which block the air passage into the nose and mouth. Some people who have sleep apnea do not even know that they have this sleep disorder because they don’t notice the interruption of sleep on them until more symptoms arise and disturb them.

The blocked airways cause a lack of oxygen which can disrupt your natural sleep, causes shortness of breath, make you snore with a gasping sound, and usually, you won’t remember it. So, it means that you only get a very light sleep and not the deep one that we normally need to recharge our energy. As a result, people who are suffering from Sleep Apnea can experience many problems during the day. And, one main complaint of these people has a headache.

What does a Sleep Apnea Headache feel like?

Many patients who were diagnosed with sleep apnea commonly suffer from recurrent morning headaches. So, this answers the question, “Can sleep apnea cause headaches?”. Some of the patients have also reported that the headache they felt is very similar to migraine symptoms like Nausea, light sensitivity, and sound sensitivity.

Sleep Apnea headache is commonly described as follows:

  • The pain pressure is relentless
  • It happens like fifteen times or more within a month
  • The pain happens in both sides of the head

According to some medical practitioners, some of their patients also explained that their sleep apnea headache is somehow associated with cluster headache and hypnic headache.

Suffering from headaches during the day because of Sleep Apnea can be really frustrating, and so can give you a lot of struggles during the day because your brain will basically not work properly. It can cause an unproductive day, inefficiency at work or in school, loose focus on everything you do, and worst can lead to more serious problems.

Where does your head hurt with sleep apnea?

Most of the people who were diagnosed with Sleep Apnea have suffered from induced headache which affects both sides of the head (right and left part). Unlike migraine, sleep apnea headache occurs more often, which can affect the brain nerves to cause more pain.

How do you get rid of sleep apnea headaches?

There are various ways of treatments that can be used to relieve Sleep Apnea headaches, depending on the level of severity of the patient’s condition.

Sleep Apnea patients who are suffering from headaches normally have a positive response to oral appliance therapy such as mouthpieces, dental mouth guards, and denture retainers. Oral device therapy is normally prescribed to people diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. These devices are used to relieve jaw muscle pain, which is normally caused by bruxism. Once the jaw muscles are corrected, this helps to regulate the normal connection of the mouth and the throat, then keeps the normal airway of the mouth and nose. These devices help the patients not only by improving their sleep but also relieves any pain or headaches as well. Many patients reported that they were then able to maintain a good regular sleep.

Temporary relief during the day is also given to patients suffering from sleep apnea. Doctors prescribed them pain relievers in order to relieve the morning headaches. This normally helps the patient to continue the day dealing with a little discomfort, but at least finish their daily tasks.

Some patients follow a simpler way to relieve their sleep apnea problems. They sleep on their right side because they said that this position corrects the upper body muscles, so the airways of the mouth and nose work properly.

can sleep apnea cause headachesCan Sleep Apnea cause headaches all day?

Sleep is essential to our body and brain. Thus, if we don’t get enough sleep that we need, our brain becomes tired also that it cannot function well. And the main reaction of brain nerves confusion to our body is a headache.

Sleep apnea is a kind of sleep disorder; therefore, headache is basically associated with it as well. Sleep apnea causes daytime fatigue and sleepiness. So, all these difficulties can really cause a headache all day.

Patients with sleep apnea reported stressful experiences of having severe daytime fatigue, drowsiness, and irritability. As s result, they find themselves having difficulty dealing with everything they need to accomplish during the day. Some of them fell asleep at work or even driving, which is very risky for their life.

Can Sleep Apnea cause neck pain?

Neck pain is also closely related to headaches. So, sleep apnea can also be associated with neck pain problems. Patients with sleep apnea also have reported complaints of neck pain. This is described as a pinched nerve neck pain. Sleep apnea normally triggers muscle pains, and so, the neck being directly close to the head is normally affected too. Sleep apnea mainly causes difficulty in sleeping, so the tendency is to change your sleeping position. Thus, it causes the pinched nerve neck.

Conclusion … Yes sleep apnea can cause headaches …

Sleep is one of the essential parts of our daily life. So, having a sleep disorder can be a really serious problem that we need to pay attention to.

Sleep apnea is one of the sleep disorder issues that many people are experiencing these days. There are many factors affecting this kind of sleep disorder, depending on the patient’s situation or condition.

Like any other sickness, if we don’t pay attention earlier, it can lead to more serious health problems. Some of the reported increased risk factors of having a sleep apnea are obesity, hypertension, chronic nasal congestions, cigarette smoking, diabetes, and asthma. Some more complications can be also be associated to cardiovascular problems, over fatigue, and eye problems.

The main issue that sleep apnea gives is a headache. But simple headaches can lead to more serious health problems if we do not take treatments.

Therefore, if you find yourself experiencing the mentioned symptoms, please consult your doctor and get early treatment before it goes to more complications.

To read a recent study about sleep apnea and headaches click here.

For more articles about sleep apnea click here.

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