Sleep apnea headache is a painful pressure on the sides of the head. Usually this pressure occurs right after waking up, but few know that it is possible to get rid of it with natural solutions, such as supplements.
According to the NIH, sleep apnea affects 3 to 5 percent of adults between the ages of x and y, and within this number, up to 15 percent of these people suffer from headaches upon waking.
Those who suffer from sleep apnea may nod off several times throughout the day and snore at night, in addition to endless headaches. But it’s time to understand more about this disorder, it’s possible causes, and invest in natural solutions based on science, check it out.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition that causes your breathing to stop or become very shallow while you sleep.
If you have OSA, you may snore loudly. You may also have pauses in breathing that last from a few seconds to minutes, and these pauses can happen many times during the night. From this, it is common for people suffering from this disorder to have poor sleep quality and duration.
In addition, you may be at risk for other health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. This is because your nightly rest relates to several functions of the body, so your sleep performance will directly affect the rest of your health.
Fortunately, there are natural treatments that can help you sleep better and can lower your risk of having these other health problems. Yes, it is possible to get back to good sleep without dealing with life-long side effects of prescription drugs!
In just 3 steps you can achieve natural supplements with scientific basis about their action, test now.
What Causes Sleep Apnea Headaches?
Sleep apnea headache is caused by the changes in blood oxygen levels that occur when you have OSA. Some researchers support that hypoxemia – low oxygen levels in sleep resulting from lapses in breathing – is the main reason for headaches in the morning.
However, it is also possible for sleep apnea to cause headaches by impairing the quality of rest, resulting in sleep deprivation which in turn impairs several functions of the body that are restored during the night.
The severity of OSA is categorized based on the Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI), which calculates how many events of lapses in breathing occurred per hour during sleep.
To be categorized as a sleep apnea headache, the diagnosis must result in Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and also apnea-hypopnea (AHI) level 5 or higher.
If the result is different, it is possible that morning headaches are the result of other health problems, such as:
- Poor diet;
- Lack of any nutrient;
- Low quality of sleep.
Unlike migraines, these headaches do not cause discomfort from loud sounds or light, but have their own particularities. This is where the question arises: What are the symptoms of OSA and the sensations suffered by these people?
What does a sleep apnea headache feel like?
According to research by the NIH (National Library of Medicine), the headache of sleep apnea brings the sensation of pressure on both sides of the head in an intense and lasting way, but not pulsating like more common migraines.
There are specific characteristics of the pain caused by migraine and the headache of sleep apnea. Studies from 2010 and 2021 show that the two disorders have different numbers as to the times per hour that breathing stops.
This number directly influences the pain, as explained in the previous paragraphs. Furthermore, sleep apnea headaches do not cause disability and last less than 30 minutes. This is contrary to many who say that “sleep apnea can cause headaches all day”.
Migraine, on the other hand, occurs from a few minutes to hours or days, depending on the severity. It can also cause motor disabilities and be associated with complications such as seizures and stroke.
In this way we were able to identify some possible symptoms arising from obstructive sleep apnea:
- Poor sleep quality;
- Loud snoring;
- Wheezing and choking sounds during the night;
- Waking up because of wheezing or choking;
- Sleepiness during the day;
- Low energy during the day;
- Daytime sleepiness;
- Decreased libido;
These symptoms may indicate Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), but do you know all the types of headaches caused by it?
Types of Headaches Associated With Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Obstructive Sleep Apnea can be related to three types of headaches: Sleep apnea headaches, Cluster headaches and Hypnic headaches.
Sleep apnea and cluster headaches
Cluster headaches are a type of headache that tend to occur in clusters, or groups, over a period of time. They are often associated with other conditions, such as obesity and obstructive sleep apnea.
According to a study from NIH, patients with HC (headaches cluster) usually present problems with sleep apnea and this relation has been studied.
This study finds that sleep apnea may be a trigger or abnormality associated with HC, though patients who suffer from HC attacks often wake during sleep.
Sleep apnea is regulated by the hypothalamus and HC is generated in the hypothalamus, this supports the theory that the two happen in parallel. But still there is no proof of an exact causal relationship between them.
Sleep apnea and hypnic headaches
Hyperemic headaches are a type of headache that typically occurs at night. They are often described as a throbbing or pulsing sensation that can last for several minutes to hours.
They usually occur at night and have symptoms similar to obstructive sleep apnea headache. More common in the elderly, they usually begin upon waking and may also appear 4 to 6 hours after sleep.
Also called “alarm clock headaches,” they wake people up during the night like headaches caused by sleep apnea. These pains usually disappear on their own within 30 minutes to 1 hour, but can cause nausea.
These pains can be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as sleep apnea or migraines. Treatment of hypnic headaches typically includes lifestyle changes and medications, but fortunately there have been more and more studies highlighting the action of supplementation.
How to get rid of a sleep apnea headache
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder that brings numerous symptoms, such as headache. But do you know how to get rid of a sleep apnea headache? Discover 5 easily applicable tips to get back to a good sleep and not wake up with those pains!
Some lifestyle changes can directly impact the quality of sleep and thus minimize the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
- Among these habits are:
- Healthier eating;
- Practice of physical exercises;
- Treat anxiety and/or stress;
- Practice hygiene of sleep;
- Maintain your ideal weight;
- Take care of other areas of health that can influence sleep, such as cardiovascular health and bone health;
You can apply these habits into your routine one at a time and thus achieve a more balanced and healthy life. All of these together can improve the quality of your sleep, which in turn improves your productivity the next day.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
Positive airway pressure, or CPAP, is a common practice among those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea headaches. This movement consists of keeping the airway passage open, helping the circulation of oxygen in the blood.
There are some types of devices used for this practice, known as CPAP machines. This basically consists of a motorized ventilator that helps air intake and prevents breathing problems such as snoring and headaches related to sleep apnea.
Supplements for obstructive sleep apnea can help improve sleep induction, quality, and duration. These substances contribute to melatonin production, circadian cycle and more.
In addition, some vitamins such as vitamin D may help with headaches. Research shows that the brain has several areas with receptors for vitamin D, including the hypothalamus, which is associated with some types of headaches.
With this, we can highlight some supplements that help with sleep and also with these pains, such as:
- L-Tryptophan: L-Tryptophan is an amino acid that is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is involved in regulating mood, sleep, and appetite. L-Tryptophan supplements are sometimes used to help people sleep.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is involved in many biochemical reactions in the body, including the regulation of melatonin, which is a hormone that helps regulate sleep-wake cycles. Studies have found that magnesium supplements can help reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and improve overall sleep quality.
- Vitamin B Complex: There is some evidence that taking a vitamin B complex supplement may help improve sleep quality. A small study found that taking a supplement containing vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12 improved sleep quality and reduced fatigue in people with sleep disorders.
Sleep hygiene is key to improving your obstructive sleep apnea. That’s because it prevents potential sleep disturbances through a set of practical habits.
Among these habits are:
- Keep the room quiet and warm during sleep;
- Avoid alcohol intake close to bedtime;
- Pay attention to the lights in the bedroom moments before bedtime;
- Avoid physical exercise hours before bedtime;
- Do relaxing activities before bed such as reading and meditation;
- Check out: do’s and don’ts of sleep hygiene;
In this approach, a buccal device is used to hold the upper airway open, which brings the lower jaw forward and holds the tongue in a single position.
This tongue position corrects any interrupted breathing caused by obstructive sleep apnea. This appliance is prescribed by a physician and must be followed by a professional.
In conclusion, a headache can be caused by sleep apnea or by other disorders. Each one of them has its own particularities but, fortunately, all of them can be treated!
Among the proposed tips, prefer the natural solution that will not bring side effects and still supports other areas of health.