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Headaches In The Morning? You Might Have Sleep Apnea

sleep apnea treatmentsWaking up on the wrong side of the bed is common for most adults.  Being jolted out of sleep because of the hammering in your skull is quite another thing entirely though. The reasons for morning headaches can be elusive.  When it becomes a daily thing and you start each day on the wrong foot, it’s important to find out why.

You may not know it yet, but you may have sleep apnea and it could be the reason for your rough mornings.

What is Sleep Apnea?

As the name implies, sleep apnea messes with your sleep.  In fact, apnea means a suspension of breathing. When you sleep your throat muscles relax and obstruct airflow.  Made worse by things like obesity and smoking, it can cause snoring.  The real problem is the cycle it can trap you in.

Breathing will stop for minutes at a time and make you wake up.  You’ll fall back asleep quickly enough but this loop can go on all night causing a wide array of problems.

It’s one thing to understand sleep apnea but how does it cause headaches?

How does sleep apnea cause headaches?

The difference between how much you sleep and how much you rest dictates how you feel in the morning.

Up to six times a night, you will enter a state of sleep characterized by rapid eye movement.  Dreams usually occur here.  Research has shown that being deprived of REM sleep can lead to psychological and physical conditions including headaches.

Another link to headaches and sleep apnea is at the very heart of the matter – oxygen.  Your brain needs a steady supply and a night full of fluctuations is bound to affect it.

If your mornings are being ruined by headaches, looking at your options is crucial.

Remedies for sleep apnea

First, you need to make sure you have sleep apnea.  The best way to do this is to ask your doctor for a sleep study.  If you’re seeing an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor they may even be able to give you a Home Sleep Study.

Once you’re sure your breathing is being obstructed at night, there are several options to consider:

  • CPAP Machine – Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines use a mask at night to keep airflow normal as you sleep.
  • Palate/Turbinate Reduction – Surgical procedures that involve either your soft palate or turbinates.  The soft palates are stiffened through radio frequency treatment and the turbinates can either undergo a similar treatment or the blood vessels can be safely cauterized.
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty – Also known as UPPP this surgical procedure actually widens the airway allowing you to breathe better.

The frustration of trying to dispel the morning headache is maddening.  Sleeping more, less and even napping can actually make it worse.

The key is to find the right sleep apnea doctor to take a look.  Who knows?  Waking up to a new day might actually be pleasant with some help.

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