Monday, September 12, 2011

Studies Show Headaches, Migraines Can Be Result of Sleep Disorder

While headaches and migraines are a regular occurrence for many Americans, new studies have found they could be related to a variety of underlying sleep disorders. Studies have shown that morning or "awakening" headaches may be a key indicator of a potentially deadly problem.

"We go through many different stages of sleep each night," said Dr. Stan Farrell of AZ-TMJ. "The most important stage that affects headaches is REM sleep, which is the dreaming state of sleep. The number of REM sleep periods that a person has each night is directly correlated with migraine headaches."

As a result of this relationship, those who are unable to fully sleep at night - whether it is caused by sleep apnea, insomnia or another abnormality - are unable to go through the appropriate number of REM cycles and are forced to live with a higher chance of chronic headaches.

Sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that has been thought to affect as many as 25 million Americans, gives the relationship between sleep disorders and headaches a much more lethal perspective. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to an increased risk of high blood pressure and stroke.

"By increasing awareness about the potential underlying issues of chronic headaches, many sufferers can become aware of their sleep disorders early and receive treatment before any other issues arise," added Farrell.

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