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Expert advice on advanced diagnosis and treatment of painful headaches and migraines from the leading headache clinic in New Jersey.

Sleep Apnea and Headaches

Gabriel Santos - Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Payman Sadeghi, MD

Is Sleep Apnea Causing You Morning Headaches?

Do you wake up with a headache and feel tired every morning? It could be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) which is one of the most underdiagnosed problems today. Studies indicate a link between headaches and sleep disorders. You could be getting a headache because of a lack of sound sleep, just as your headache could be the reason you’re not sleeping well.

About 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, a condition where the upper passages of your airway close off. This interrupts your breathing and deprives you of oxygen, forcing you to wake up and start breathing again. Studies show that more middle-aged men have this sleep disorder than women.

Common Signs of Sleep Apnea

How do you know if you have sleep apnea? You must have a sleep test done where they will monitor your sleep pattern overnight. If you or your partner notices loud snoring or interruption in breathing while you are asleep, see a doctor. Here are some common symptoms of OSA that indicate you might need to be tested.

  • loud snoring
  • Morning headaches
  • waking up with a sore or dry throat
  •  occasionally waking up gasping or choking
  • waking up feeling tired
  • sleepiness or lack of energy during the day
  • sleepy while driving
  • difficulty sleeping
  • forgetfulness
  • mood changes
  • decreased interest in sex

The Link between Sleep and Migraine or Cluster Headaches

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, chances are you could be told your migraines or cluster headaches are caused by it. Some researchers have found a direct link between REM (rapid eye movement) sleep deprivation and persistent or chronic headaches. Yet, not every person diagnosed with OSA suffers from headaches. So what if there is another reason for your headaches? Or if they are aggravating your condition? It could mean the real reason for your headaches will go undiagnosed and untreated, and that you will continue to be in pain.

At the New Jersey Headache Institute, we can diagnose the cause of your headache. Our headache experts approach each case with an open mind and make no assumption that it is related to another condition. There is no standard protocol for diagnosis or treatment either. Your plan will be designed specifically for you. We take the time to fully explore your condition and this helps us provide effective headache treatments. More than 90% of the patients we have provided relief for had tried other treatments unsuccessfully.

If you are suffering from sleep apnea and experiencing frequent headaches, make an appointment with our team today for a thorough personal assessment. Call us at 908.660.4382 or use our contact form to book a consultation.


Dr. Payman Sadeghi is the co-founder of the New Jersey Headache Institute. He studied medicine at Nordestana University and finished his Internal Medicine internship and Neurology residency at the University of Texas.  Dr. Sadeghi has completed an electromyography super fellowship as well as many epilepsy and neuroimaging fellowships. At his residency in Neurology at the University of Texas Medical Branch Dr. Sadeghi gained extensive experience diagnosing and treating headache and migraine patients. That residency, along with Dr. Sadeghi's medical curiosity and his varied clinical experience, has made him a specialist in headaches and their treatment.

Dr. Sadeghi was also a clinical assistant professor during his time at the University of Texas. He is a member of the American Headache Society, the National Headache Foundation and the American Academy of Neurology. Dr. Sadeghi is fluent in English, Spanish, French and Persian.

 





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