Can Chronic Headaches Be a Sign of a Sleep Disorder?

When you have a headache that keeps coming back, and perhaps even becomes a migraine sometimes, finding a solution to stop may not be simple. A headache can mean a lot of different things, and even when it’s related to your oral health, the specific factors behind it can differ greatly. Obstructive sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder that affects your sleep and breathing patterns, is one such factor. For people who experience, the recurrence of a headache can be just one of several indications that they aren’t getting enough sleep or oxygen at night, and the warning should be taken seriously.

A brief look at obstructive sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a chronic sleep breathing disorder that can often affect people without them realizing it. The condition involves the repeated cessation of your breathing when you sleep at night, which is caused by a repeated obstruction of your airway by oral and throat tissues. This obstruction can cause you snore loudly until your breathing stops altogether for a few moments. Then, it starts again as your body notes the lack of oxygen and clears your airway. The problem is that this process will continue to repeat itself throughout the night, and as a result, your brain and body receive much less oxygen by the time you wake up in the morning.

Other signs that might point to sleep trouble

The lack of sufficient oxygen and the extra work your body has to put into receiving it are two key reasons why sleep apnea is so problematic. When you have sleep apnea, these episodes occur every night, and every time they do, your body and brain have to break their cycle of rest to clear your airway. This means you may never reach the deep levels of sleep that you need for the cells and tissues in your brain and body to properly rest and recuperate. Over time, that cumulative stress, lack of sleep, and depleted oxygen can lead to several other symptoms besides snoring and headaches, including:

  • Difficulty concentration during the day
  • Daytime fatigue and exhaustion
  • Increased irritability and mood swings
  • Increased risks of getting sick (due to a weaker immune system)
  • And more

Find out if your headaches are a sign of sleep apnea

Chronic headaches and migraines can mean a lot of things, but if they’re accompanied by other signs of lack of sleep, they may be a warning of an underlying sleep disorder. To learn more, or to schedule your appointment, call Healthy Smiles in Gary, IN, today at 219-938-2637.