A new study takes a look at the link between morning headaches and obstructive sleep apnea.
The study involved 462 people with sleep apnea. A control group included 101 people without sleep apnea.
Results show that about 34 percent of the sleep apnea group reported having morning headaches. People with moderate to severe sleep apnea were more likely to wake with a headache.
Morning headaches also were more common in women than in men. Only nine percent of the control group reported morning headaches.
People who reported morning headaches had much lower oxygen saturation levels during sleep. But the study was unable to determine a specific cause of the morning headaches.
The good news? Treating sleep apnea with CPAP eliminated morning headaches in 90 percent of participants.
Other studies of sleep apnea and morning headaches have reported similar findings. But the exact nature of this relationship remains unclear.
Morning headaches can be considered a “non-specific symptom” of sleep apnea. Waking with a headache is not a clear indication that you have sleep apnea.
But you should talk to your doctor if you have frequent morning headaches. This may be a cause for concern if you have other warning signs of sleep apnea.
The NINDS also reports that a sudden, severe headache can be a sign of a more serious medical problem. Visit your doctor if a headache occurs along with convulsions, fever, confusion, or pain in the eye or ear.