Does sleep apnea cause morning headaches?

Headaches, specifically those occurring in the morning upon waking, can be associated with sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. When you suffer from sleep apnea, your airway is partially or completely blocked during sleep. Because of this closure, the amount of oxygen in your blood being transported to your brain is reduced, which puts you at risk for serious conditions like high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, as well as headaches – specifically morning headaches.

Morning headaches are a very common symptom of sleep apnea. If you are waking up with a headache, you are likely starting your day off on the wrong foot, which can be very frustrating and prevent you from living your life to the fullest. The first step in taking your life back is to start a discussion with your doctor. You can prepare by taking a brief sleep quiz and talking with your doctor about the results. Your doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist for a sleep study, which can take place in a sleep lab or even in your own home. During the test, sensors will collect your sleep data, which a sleep specialist will use to determine if you have sleep apnea.

If test results indicate that you do have sleep apnea, treating this condition could possibly help reduce your headaches. The sleep specialist can help determine which treatment option is best for you. The gold standard treatment for most people suffering from sleep apnea is mask and device therapy. Those with mild to moderate sleep apnea may benefit from using a custom-made oral appliance. Even starting a program of diet and exercise can help reduce extra weight and possibly improve sleep apnea symptoms like headaches.

This blog post contains general information about medical conditions and potential treatments. It is not medical advice. If you have any medical questions, please consult your doctor.

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