By Dr. Roger Roubal

Do you regularly wake with a headache?

woman with a headacheDo you wake up with a headache most mornings? If so, then you should be evaluated for sleep apnea. Morning headaches are one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea—up to 75% of obstructive sleep apnea sufferers get them—and morning headache sufferers are up to 8 times more likely to have sleep apnea than the general population. Worse, some headaches treatments may actually put sleep apnea sufferers at risk, so you should talk to your doctor about sleep apnea before beginning any headache treatment.

Sleep apnea treatment can improve or eliminate morning headaches. Stop taking medication that masks the pain—get rid of it once and for all! Please call (402) 493-4175 or click here to contact Dr. Roger Roubal, Omaha’s foremost sleep apnea dentist.

Sleep Apnea Is Associated with Many Types of Headaches

The “classic” sleep apnea headache has most or all of the following characteristics:

  • You feel it when you wake up
  • Occurs 15+ days a month
  • Occurs on both sides of the head, feels like pressure in the head, and isn’t associated with:
    • Nausea
    • Light sensitivity
    • Sound sensitivity
  • Resolves within 30 minutes of waking
  • Stops within 72 hours of sleep apnea treatment and doesn’t come back

However, there are many other types of headaches that increase in frequency or severity because of sleep apnea, including:

  • Migraines
  • Cluster headaches
  • Tension headaches
  • Hypnic headaches

If you have been diagnosed with any of these types of headaches and experience them often, you should talk to a doctor about sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea Treatment Improves Headaches

Many sleep disorders are associated with headaches, but sleep apnea is the one where treatment has been shown to be most effective. Studies have shown that, in addition to sleep apnea headaches, tension headaches, migraine headaches, and cluster headaches have all been shown to lessen in intensity and frequency after treatment for obstructive apnea.

Treatments to Avoid If You Suspect Sleep Apnea

People with sleep apnea are at an elevated risk for serious side effects when taking certain types of medication. Unfortunately, these are sometimes the medications that may be prescribed if a doctor suspects insomnia or another sleep disorder is related to your morning headaches. Sedative-hypnotic drugs (such as Ambien) may be dangerous when taken by people with sleep apnea.

To learn more about how sleep apnea treatment can improve your headaches, please call (402) 493-4175 or click here to contact Dr. Roger Roubal, today for an appointment.

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