Headaches might be caused by sleep problems
Does this sound like you? You go to bed perfectly fine, anticipating a great night’s sleep and a productive day to follow, and then you wake up at 6 am with a pounding headache! Again! No big party the night before that would cause a hangover, so what gives?
This pattern of headaches, commonly called Morning Migraines, is the most common headache pattern. It doesn’t really make much sense to most people because headaches are generally caused by stress and how much stress can you have while you are asleep? The answer to that question is PLENTY!
Many studies have been done showing a relationship between a lack of restful sleep and morning headaches. The recommendation is to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night and to go to sleep and wake up at approximately the same times every day, even on weekends. Other recommendations are to avoid caffeine within 6 hours of bedtime and to resist watching stressful, high action or violent movies or TV shows right before bed. But what do you do if you are already doing all of these things and still waking up with headaches.
The problem may not be how much sleep you get, but how restful your sleep is during the night. New studies are showing a high number of people do not get quality sleep due to breathing problems. Most people have heard of sleep apnea, a condition where your airway gets blocked during the night causing your body to get less than the needed amount of oxygen. This causes an arousal process in your body and triggers you to wake up partly. You don’t get fully awake and so many times you don’t even know it happens. But it disturbs your sleep and causes your body to be under stress.
So now that you know that there could be a very legitimate cause for your morning headaches, what do you do about it? The first step is to find out if you have a sleep/breathing problem. There are several ways to do it, but one of the easiest is to use a pulse/ox device while you sleep. It registers your pulse and your oxygen while you sleep and is very non-intrusive. Our office has these devices available for overnight use and if you mention this blog post we will waive the $50 procedure charge.
This is just a first, simple step in the process to find out if you have this condition. But it is the easiest and least expensive and intrusive first step you can take. Don’t wait until another “Morning Migraine” keeps you from doing what you had planned for the day. Call us today to schedule a time for a study.
Have you ever thought about how much your body is like your car? I mean, think about it. Your “engine” is your heart, lungs and other vital organs. The food you eat is like the fuel that you put into your car. If you put in cheap gas that has impurities in it, your engine doesn’t run as well as it should. The oil that lubricates your moving parts in your car is similar to the blood running through your veins and the water that makes up 70% of your body. I could go on and on with the comparison but you probably get the point.
What would you tell someone who bought a brand new car, filled it with cheap gas and then drove it and drove it without doing any oil changes, tire rotations or changing filters and belts? Of course they are going to have problems with that car. It doesn’t matter how good the car was to begin with, without the proper maintenance, you will have problems. The dirty oil and filters won’t provide the lubrication needed and the engine and other parts will begin to break down.
The same thing goes with our bodies. We need to do preventive maintenance to keep our bodies healthy and performing up to their potential. We need to put in high quality fuel (nutritional food) and we need to regularly check to make sure everything is working well. For example, simply visiting the doctor for a yearly check-up could help prevent, or catch in the early stages, several diseases and conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. A regular maintenance appointment with a mechanic can prevent, or catch in the early stages, many serious mechanical problems as well.
One of the best, and easiest, ways to do preventive maintenance is to visit your dentist twice a year. Not only do dentists check for decay and periodontal disease in your mouth, they also can check your blood pressure, do an oral cancer screening and do a head and neck exam. Many diseases that affect your whole body show up in your mouth at an early stage. For example, a sudden change in the bleeding of your gums can be a huge indication that you might have diabetes. Oral cancer, one of the fastest growing types of cancer, can be identified in its earliest stages by an oral cancer screening.
Don’t put off your preventive maintenance in your body any more than you would put off getting your oil changed and tires rotated in your car. You are more important than your car.