Do you ever wake up with a headache? If you answered yes, you could be showing signs of sleep apnoea. New research has shown that over 50% of people who wake up with headaches or migraines might already be suffering from this sleep disorder.
What is sleep apnoea?
Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a serious condition that occurs when your throat muscles relax too much in the night. Your airway becomes very narrow, and fast-travelling air is pulled through it when you try to breathe. This dehydrates the soft tissue at the back of your mouth, and causes it to vibrate. We call this sound snoring.
However, the walls of your airway can start to stick together. Your breathing can then completely stop for around 10-30 seconds at a time. This is known as an apnoea. Symptoms of OSA include: snoring, gasping or choking noises, insomnia and daytime sleepiness.
Why does sleep apnoea cause headaches?
People with sleep apnoea often complain of morning headaches. This is because sleep apnoea causes you to stop breathing consistently in the night, and less oxygen is making its way to your brain. These low oxygen levels trigger the widening of blood vessels and cause vascular headaches. As well as feeling sleepy in the day, headaches and migraines are usually the symptoms of sleep apnoea that sufferers complain about the most; people are often not aware that they snore, or have breaks in their breathing at night.
How do I know if my headache is sleep-related?
Headaches caused by sleep apnoea tend to be a throbbing pain, which can also include nausea and vomiting. And nearly half of all migraines occur between 4am and 9am – so a pattern of waking up frequently with a headache is a good indicator that your headache is sleep-related.
How do I get rid of my headaches?
Oral devices are a great way to provide relief from the pain of sleep-related migraines and headaches. Similar to a mouth guard, these devices work by gently holding your jaw in the correct position while you sleep. This opens your airway and helps you to breathe. Just about anyone with mild to moderate sleep apnoea can use them, and many sufferers find them helpful in banishing their morning headaches. You can find more information about the Snoreeze Oral Device here.
If you suspect you might be suffering from sleep apnoea, try and visit your doctor as soon as possible. Aside from getting rid of your headaches, treating sleep apnoea could help you feel happier, more alert, and ready for the peaceful sleep you deserve.