If you regularly wake with headaches or cope with headaches during your day-to-day life, you may struggle to find relief from the pain, as well as the effect the pain has on your daily life. What a number of practitioners fail to mention, unfortunately, is that regular headaches when you wake, or throughout your day, are often a sign of a sleep disorder.There are many different kinds of sleep disorders that can affect the health and quality of our sleep, but the most common are obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia.

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Those who suffer from insomnia are also likely to struggle with mood disorders or mental health concerns, such as depression or anxiety. Headaches can result from a lack of sleep, or painful headaches can keep you from being able to sleep well. Medications that treat depression and anxiety can also interrupt sleep patterns, leading to further difficulties. Both sleeping too few hours (less than six) and more than usual (over 8.5) are associated with ongoing headache issues, from migraine symptoms to tension headaches.


To many sleep specialists, regularly waking with a headache is considered a sign of snoring, and consistent snoring is considered a clear sign of obstructive sleep apnea. OSA is a sleep disorder where the individual experiences pauses in their breathing throughout the night because they can't keep their airway clear; they jerk awake to resume normal breathing. Though they may not remember waking in the morning, these interruptions to the normal sleep pattern result in feeling tired in the morning, and often involve waking with a strong headache.

Other signs of OSA include daytime tiredness, signs that you're jerking or pausing in your breathing as you fall asleep, or waking yourself up snoring.

Headaches upon waking can follow many different patterns, from migraines to cluster headaches to tension headaches. Any regular headaches when you wake or, shortly thereafter, should be evaluated by a sleep specialist.


Many kids experience chronic headaches, although young children often have difficulty reporting where exactly they're feeling pain. Headaches may be reported as neck problems, vision problems, or general discomfort. 

If your child suddenly begins experiencing regular headaches, looking into their sleep patterns is a good idea. Remember, no child should snore on a regular basis, experience regular night sweats, or consistently feel tired during the day.


If you or your child are experiencing regular headaches, it's a good idea to see your doctor to rule out causes like allergies, sinus infections, or injuries to the head. If all of those things are clear, the next step is to consult a sleep specialist for a complete sleep evaluation. Finding out if you're suffering from a sleep disorder won't just leave you sleeping better at night, it may reduce the severity of, or entirely remove, your headaches.