Screening for sleep apnea may help your headaches!

Sleep apnea is commonly caused by obstruction of the air flow during sleep leading to short arrests of breathing. When breathing is blocked, oxygen gets low in the blood, blood pressure gets high, and this may lead to health problems on the long term. Sleep apnea is a cause of daytime somnolence and fatigue.

Morning headaches can be associated with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea may also deteriorate migraines. Treatment of sleep related breathing disorders may correlate with headache improvement. If you have headaches that typically occurs in the morning and have symptoms/signs suggestive of sleep apnea such as snoring, pauses in breathing at night and fatigue in the morning, then overnight polysomnography could be a used to investigate sleep apnea.

Night time changes in oxygen saturation with build up of carbon dioxide, dilation of blood vessels, increase pressure in the head and impaired sleep are possible factors contributing to the headache. There also appears to be an association between chronic migraine and sleep apnea; however both are linked with obesity.