What Is A Sleep Apnea Headache?

Imagine waking up in the morning feeling fresh and raring to go. Is that something you struggled with every day? Do you usually tend to start your day with a pounding headache? If yes, you will find multiple reasons why it is the way it is, and sleep apnea is one of them.

Sleep apnea essentially occurs when your breathing becomes irregular and gets interrupted during your sleep. These pauses in your breathing cycle typically last anywhere between 10-20 seconds and can happen anywhere from 5-100 times per hour. It can result in a lack of oxygen reaching your brain, thus prompting you to gasp and bolt upright.

So, when you wake up in the morning, you can find yourself feeling fatigued and experiencing a throbbing headache. Other than headaches, if you do have sleep apnea, it can cause other health complications like poor immune function, memory loss, or risk of heart failure. Therefore, if you find yourself with a frequent headache, especially after sleep, get yourself checked immediately.

Today, you will learn more about headaches caused by sleep apnea, its diagnosis, treatment, and home remedies, so you can put the topic to rest once and for all.

How To Get Rid Of Sleep Apnea Headaches?

If diagnosed with sleep apnea, you will most likely find yourself clutching your head in the morning due to a recurrent headache. However, other types of headaches could have similar symptoms. So, getting a proper diagnosis is as critical as its treatment.

You will find that during these periods of intermittent breathing, the air gets trapped in your lungs, gets de-oxygenated, and converts to carbon dioxide, which spills into your bloodstream. The primary cause of sleep apnea headaches is the increased carbon monoxide levels that affect the blood vessels near and in your head to dilate. This widening of blood vessels results in sleep apnea headaches.

So, to prevent any further complications, getting treated for sleep apnea should become your top priority.

Diagnosis for Sleep Apnea Headaches

To rule out any other sleep disorders and getting to the bottom of your sleep apnea induced headaches, your doctor (preferably a sleep medicine specialist) will first evaluate your symptoms. He/she will then move on to taking notes about your medical history and eventually perform a sleep study.

While the doctors mostly conduct sleep studies in the hospital or the sleep lab, you will find many medical institutions today that offer at-home services. They use portable devices that monitor your heart rate, breathing, and oxygen in your blood as you sleep.

Although waiting for the diagnostic results can make you restless, the good news is that you can get treated for sleep apnea headaches, making it easier on your body both mentally and physically.

Treatments for Sleep Apnea Headaches

You will get the treatment you need depending on the causes of your sleep apnea induced headaches. First and foremost, you need to check with your sleep medicine specialist regarding the causes of your sleep apnea. Once that gets determined, you can then move on to the treatment for the induced headaches. As you know, the root cause of sleep apnea headaches is this sleep disorder that you remedy first. Therefore, after considering the cause and the diagnosis, you will get prescribed either of the following treatment options:

1. Lifestyle changes – Some specific modifications to your lifestyle can correct or minimize your sleep apnea, thus reducing the frequency of headaches. It is the simplest way to live a healthier lifestyle and get proper rest.

2. Positive Airway Pressure – In this treatment method, the doctor uses a machine (called continuous positive airway pressure) to clear out blocked airways. It delivers air pressure into your nose or mouth. It helps prevent any intermittent breathing issues and snoring, thus easing any sleep apnea induced headaches.

3. Oral Devices – A mouthpiece device is used to keep your upper airways open by bringing your lower jaw forward and holding your tongue in a specific position. It helps correct any sleep apnea issues.

4. Surgery – If any of the above non-invasive treatment methods fail to work, surgery becomes your last resort. In such cases, the doctor will either remove the tissues obstructing your airways, implant devices to detect or correct any obstruction or perform a tracheostomy.

10 Home Remedies For Sleep Apnea Headaches

While the traditional methods may help ease sleep apnea, you can also find benefits in home remedies that you can treat as alternative treatments for the induced headaches. These home care measures will help improve your sleep quality without going through the trouble of wearing a breathing mask at night.

1. Maintain a healthy weight – If you tend to put on weight, make sure you eat a healthy diet that contains all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to keep going. In case of weight gain, especially in your upper body, the risk of obstruction in your airways increase. To avoid the risk, keep a steady weight.

2. Do Yoga – It is helpful for those diagnosed with sleep apnea. Yoga helps improve your respiratory strength and encourages oxygen flow to your brain and throughout the body. It, therefore, reduces any sleep interruptions you might experience due to sleep apnea.

3. Change your sleep position – If you sleep on your back, avoid it if you have sleep apnea. Instead, sleep on your side to help the breathing return to normal.

4. Avoid alcohol and smoking – Neither of these two habits has proven to benefit anyone. So, if you have sleep apnea and wake up with a massive headache every day, quit smoking altogether and limit your alcohol intake. Smoking especially can cause inflammation and swelling in your airways, causing an obstruction.

5. Use a humidifier – Dry air can irritate your respiratory system. So, pick up a humidifier that adds moisture in the air, allowing you to breathe with ease. You can also add lavender, eucalyptus oil, or peppermint to your humidifier, as it has anti-inflammatory properties.

6. Use oral devices – After consulting your doctor, you can either pick up a mandibular advancement device or a tongue stabilizing device to clear the obstruction in your airways. You can buy these over-the-counter, but make sure you get them pre-approved by your doctor. Using oral appliances can help you sleep better.

7. Get your allergies treated – If you have dust-related or any other types of allergies, you need to get them treated or find some solution. When it comes to allergies and infections, you will find that your breathing gets interrupted, and if it happens at night, it could induce sleep apnea.

8. Avoid taking sedatives – Unless prescribed otherwise by your doctor, skip sedatives. It will increase your dependency on these medications and deteriorate the quality of sleep.

9. Exercise regularly – If you have sleep apnea, regular physical activity is a must. It will help with your energy levels, strengthen your heart, and improve your sleep.

10. Avoid alcohol intake close to bedtime – Limiting your alcohol intake is a start. But, do away with drinking alcohol before you go to bed. It hampers your sleep pattern and increases breathing inconsistencies. All of these home remedies or alternative treatments will help you relax, improve the quality of your sleep, and reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea. In turn, it will also prevent any sleep apnea induced headaches.

When To See A Doctor For Sleep Apnea Headaches?

Recurring headaches can disrupt your everyday life, so you should get treated for sleep apnea at the earliest. Once you realize lifestyle modifications may not work, seek the help of an expert doctor for treatment.

Nobody wants to wake up to splitting headaches that ruin every morning. Therefore, when you find yourself in such a position, finding help at the right time helps in the long run. The earlier you get yourself checked for sleep apnea, the earlier you get to distance yourself from these headaches.


Yes, sleep apnea happens to create several health problems, including headaches. However, when you get the treatment at the right time, you can avoid further complications and find relief from headaches. It will also improve your sleep quality and overall physical and mental health.

Effective therapies and home remedies for your morning headaches can help you feel better. It also improves other health parameters besides your headaches. Before you self-diagnose, discuss all the treatment options with your doctor and if the symptoms worsen, seek immediate medical attention.

How Aims Healthcare Can Help!

When it comes to medical treatment, you want to seek advice from the experts. Aims Healthcare’s home visit doctor service in Dubai helps you reach out to qualified and certified doctors that offer the best possible treatment for your sleep apnea headache problem in the comfort of your home, office, or at the hotel. We enhance the experience of attaining medical attention and treatment. We make the best healthcare professionals accessible and just one call away. So, to receive personalized medical care, comprehensive diagnosis, treatment, and after-care exclusively at your doorstep, contact us at +971 505 136 505.

Aims Healthcare

Aims Healthcare intertwines superior medical practices with accessibility of highly qualified medical professionals to yield exceptional patient care and clinical outcomes. We take medical care one step further by providing first-rate home healthcare and doctor-on-call services at your doorstep. We are available any time of day for you and every member of your family.