Sleep Apnea Headaches and Migraines: Can Sleep Apnea Cause Headaches

Can Sleep Apnea Cause Headaches

Are you one of the millions of Americans who suffer from sleep apnea? You’re not alone! One of the many surprising sleep apnea facts is that it’s the most common sleep disorder. And in fact, many people are asking “can sleep apnea cause headaches”?

In many cases, sleep apnea causes headaches.

Do you know someone who has been complaining of headaches, and you think they might have sleep apnea? Keep reading to find out how sleep apnea can cause headaches!

Can Sleep Apnea Cause Headaches  and Migraines All Day

Sleep apnea can cause headaches all day due to reduced oxygen levels in the body. When a person’s breathing pauses during sleep, the body does not receive the oxygen needed for tissue and cell growth. This results in a lack of oxygen and therefore a decrease in the blood supply to the brain.

This can cause headaches in the daytime, even without an underlying cause. Certain lifestyle factors can result in further oxygen deprivation, such as:

  • alcohol
  • smoking
  • medications

All these lead to the development of more frequent and severe headache episodes during the day. Treatment strategies for sleep apnea can be effective in reducing the frequency and severity of headaches, so it is important to seek treatment immediately if symptoms are present.

What Does a Sleep Apnea Headache Feel Like

Sleep apnea headaches can vary in intensity and location, depending on the severity of the sleep apnea. Generally, sleep apnea headaches are experienced as tension, throbbing, or sharp pain in the head and neck.

They may join or alternate between the two areas. Pain may be accompanied by a dull aching or numbness. These headaches are typically worse in the morning and can last for up to several hours following waking.

This type of headache is frequently made worse by physical activity, such as sitting up or standing. They may also be triggered by certain smells or sounds. In addition to the headache, people with sleep apnea often report that they experience fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating, which can be relieved when they take a nap or get more rest.

What Are Some Common Sleep Apnea Symptoms?

Sleep apnea is a serious and potentially dangerous sleep disorder, affecting millions of people worldwide. Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • loud and frequent snoring
  • disturbed sleep
  • excessive daytime sleepiness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • morning headaches
  • irritability

Morning headaches are a very common symptom of sleep apnea. The headaches sleep apnea can bring might lead you to have a bad day. Other symptoms include choking or gasping for air during sleep, waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat, and excessive sweating during sleep. For those with sleep apnea, a decrease in quality of life is often seen due to the disruptive nature of the disorder.

It is important for those with sleep apnea to understand the various symptoms and to seek professional help in order to get the best sleep apnea treatment for their condition. If dealt with right away, sleep apnea will eventually be treated, and yes, sleep apnea symptoms will die down eventually. Otherwise, if could lead to severe cases or even death.

Can Sleep Apnea Cause Morning Headaches?

Morning headache is considered to be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). Sleep apnea can cause morning headaches due to changes in oxygenation levels in the blood during sleep. When sleep apnea occurs, there is a decrease in oxygen reaching the brain due to the pauses in breathing. This decrease in oxygen can cause a morning headache.

Patients with sleep apnea may also experience a morning headache due to dehydration since they are not breathing as regularly as they should be. Furthermore, morning headaches are a symptom of sleep deprivation due to the lack of restful sleep due to the occurrence of breathing pauses.

To alleviate the morning headaches associated with sleep apnea, it is important for people to seek diagnosis and personal treatment. Treatments may include:

  • lifestyle changes
  • weight loss
  • avoiding caffeine
  • CPAP machines
  • other treatments such as surgery

Headaches usually disappear within an hour or so of waking with less stress in mind. By treating sleep apnea, an individual can reduce their risk of morning headaches.

Can Sleep Apnea Cause Headaches and Dizziness

Sleep apnea can certainly cause headaches and dizziness. The headaches can be the result of the lack of oxygen to the brain caused by sleep apnea. The lack of oxygen causes the body to make compensatory efforts. This is by releasing hormones that cause increased blood flow to the brain and increased heart rate. This can cause headaches and an overall feeling of fatigue or general unpleasantness.

Additionally, sleep apnea can also contribute to dizziness, which is commonly associated with sleeping apnea as a result of the disruption in blood oxygen levels which can affect blood flow to the brain. This can cause a feeling of lightheadedness or dizziness. Therefore, it is not surprising that sleep apnea can cause people to experience headaches and dizziness.

Can Sleep Apnea Cause Headaches and Neck Pain

Sleep apnea can cause headaches and neck pain. This is because when a person suffers from sleep apnea, their breathing is disrupted and interrupted for extended periods during the night. This lack of oxygen can lead to headaches and neck pain due to muscles in the neck and head being starved of oxygen.

As a result, the muscles become inflamed and tense, leading to headaches and neck pain. Headaches can also be a sign of sleep apnea since the person’s body isn’t getting the restorative, restful sleep it needs.

In addition, sleep apnea can also lead to depression, irritability, and loss of concentration, each of which can complicate any headache and neck pain issues. Therefore, it is important to get tested if you have any of the previously mentioned symptoms and seek medical help to properly diagnose and treat sleep apnea with the right medicine.

Will Stiffed Neck Be Caused By Sleep Apnea?

One of the symptoms associated with sleep apnea is a stiff neck. This can occur because the tongue and other structures in the throat can collapse and block the airway during sleep. This of which results in pressure in the neck area.

Over time, this pressure can cause the muscles in the neck area to become stiff and painful. People who have sleep apnea may also have difficulty turning their heads or flexing their necks.

Therefore, if you are experiencing a stiff neck, it is important to consider whether sleep apnea may be the underlying cause. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and, if applicable, pursue testing for sleep apnea to identify and treat the underlying cause of your stiff neck.

What to Do if CPAP Machine Causes Headaches or Migraines

If CPAP treatment is causing headaches, it is important to adjust the CPAP settings to make the treatment more comfortable. Begin by making sure the mask fits properly and that the pressures are set at the right level.

If the mask is leaking, adjust it. Also, ensure the humidification settings are comfortable, as too little can cause sinus irritation that may contribute to headaches. If the headaches persist after adjusting the mask settings, talk to the doctor managing your CPAP treatment to figure out the best treatment plan.

In some cases, a change in settings may be needed, or a different type of mask may be recommended. The doctor might also advise lifestyle changes or refer the patient to pain management specialists for further evaluation and treatment.

Sleep Apnea Headache Location

Sleep apnea headache location is a common complaint for those affected by this sleep disorder. The most common type of headache is tension-type headache. This of which is characterized by a feeling of pressure on both sides of the head. These headaches usually start in the forehead but can spread to the temples, the upper neck, and the back of the head.

Secondary symptoms like neck pain and migraines are also common. In some cases, the headache may be accompanied by blurred vision, dizziness, fatigue, and depression.

People who suffer from sleep apnea and related headaches may also experience issues with concentration and focus at work. Knowing the location of the headache can help the individual and their doctor to better understand and treat the problem.

Can Sleep Apnea Cause Tension Headaches

Sleep Apnea is when a person’s breathing is interrupted while they are sleeping. This of which can result in less restful sleep. There is increasing evidence that suggests that sleep apnea can cause tension headaches.

When a person does not get enough quality sleep because of sleep apnea, it can cause tension in the neck and shoulders, which can then lead to headaches. People suffering from sleep apnea may also have erratic sleep patterns. This of which can contribute to further tension and headaches.

People with sleep apnea may be unable to effectively relax their bodies, resulting in increased tension that can contribute to headaches. Lastly, the mental stress and fatigue resulting from restlessness due to sleep apnea can also cause tension headaches.

Therefore, it is important to treat sleep apnea to prevent or reduce the chances of getting tension headaches.

Can Sleep Apnea Headaches Lead to Death?

Sleep apnea headaches can become deadly when they are not properly managed. When a person suffers from sleep apnea, their body can become deprived of oxygen during sleep. This of which can lead to extreme headaches, along with other serious health issues.

If left untreated, the headaches can become increasingly severe and can eventually lead to death. If the headaches are severe enough, the person may suffer seizures or a stroke and ultimately die.

Additionally, those with sleep apnea may be tired during the day, leading to a lack of concentration, confusion, and even falling asleep at the wheel and causing a fatal accident. People with sleep apnea need to receive treatment to avoid the risks of death from sleep apnea headaches.

Sleep Apnea Headache Treatment

Treatment for headaches caused by sleep apnea is a specialized form of treatment that focuses on reducing the symptoms associated with sleep disorders. Treatment may include:

  • lifestyle modifications
  • medications to reduce the intensity of the headaches and the intensity of sleep apnea episodes
  • other procedures such as CPAP therapy to keep the patient’s airway open while sleeping

Specialized breathing exercises and oral appliances are also common treatment options. Additionally, cognitive behavioral therapy and relaxation techniques may assist in the management of associated headaches.

Proper diagnosis and an understanding of the root cause of the headaches are crucial for successful sleep apnea headache treatment. It is important to consult your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms. They can help you begin exploring the available treatment options.

How Severe Can Obstructive Sleep Apnea Affect Patients?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious condition that affects the quality of life of those that suffer from it. It occurs when the person’s airway is blocked and they are unable to get enough oxygen while sleeping. Sleep apnea can result in many different issues, including physiological, psychological and physical complications.

It can lead to poor sleep quality, high blood pressure, headaches, irritability, decreased concentration and an increased risk of stroke, heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases. OSA can lead to weight gain, depression and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. It can even contribute to an increased risk of motor vehicle crashes and workplace accidents.

OSA needs to be addressed and treated to ensure optimal physical, emotional and psychological health. Treatment options can range from lifestyle changes like avoiding alcohol and sleeping on one side, to more intensive treatments like CPAP machines, mouth guards and surgeries.


Sleep apnea can be a major contributor to headaches in some cases. While there are many causes of headaches, it is important to speak to a doctor if you experience frequent or intense headaches.

A doctor can diagnose if sleep apnea is the underlying cause of your headaches and help you find the best treatment plan. Start feeling better today by scheduling an appointment with your doctor to discuss the potential causes of your headache.

To help get rid of sleep apnea, explore the rest of our blog for treatment information. We have more free information to share with you. 

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