We’ve seen connections between sleep apnea and an array of conditions, but did you know untreated sleep apnea can actually worsen migraine headaches? It can. Some migraines specialists even believe that most of their patients are not aware that they suffer from sleep breathing disorders—more proof that diagnosis and treatment are key to a leading a healthy life.


Obstructive sleep apnea occurs in about 10% of adults and is a condition that causes a temporary cessation of breathing when patients are in a soporific state. The most severe cases result in harsh snoring and gasping for air that may repeatedly interrupt sleep throughout the night. Soft, regular snoring is also a form of sleep apnea that most patients, especially men, are able to live with. And, while women are not as likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, their health tends to be more deeply affected.

Sleep Apnea and Migraines

The most obvious connection between sleep apnea and migraines is related to stress. This is very obvious for patients who suffer from OSA since they wake up frequently throughout the night. Insomnia might also develop, which leads to irritability and ultimately, stress, which is the most common migraine trigger. Sleep apnea can also often be misdiagnosed in migraine patients when physicians might believe that these episodes are causing loss of sleep. However, it is actually the other way around. Sleep apnea takes away quality rest, which is one of the best treatments for chronic migraines. So, if you aren’t getting the sleep you need, then your migraines are only worsening.


While there is no cure for migraines, there is for sleep apnea. Some patients whose airways present an obstruction that can be surgically corrected may be able to find permanent relief through ENT procedures that are not too invasive. Additionally, oral appliance therapy is available to help the sleep apnea patient find relief from their symptoms so that you can get a better night’s sleep once and for all. By treating sleep apnea, you can reduce your risk for stress, lack of sleep and migraines.

Contact Dr. Mayoor Patel at Craniofacial Pain & Dental Sleep Center of Georgia for more information on treatment of sleep apnea and how it can help improve your migraine pain.