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.