Migraine headaches and sleep disorders are common in the general population and often coexist in the same patient. Stress is recognized as one of the principal factors for headache and sleep disorders. Moreover, both disorders have been proven to be associated with depression and anxiety.

Patients suffering from chronic morning or nocturnal headache should be considered for the presence of possible sleep disturbances–particularly sleep apnea. Common anatomic features that we see among migraine and sleep deprived patients:

  • Small nature of their upper airways. Most modern humans have smaller jaws and facial skeletons due to a radical change in our diets and lifestyles.
  • Dental crowding, which narrows the spaces behind your tongue, especially if you lay flat on your back.
  • Not being able to get deep, refreshing sleep can lead to a physiologic state of stress, where you entire nervous system can be heightened and hypersensitive. Poor sleep quality can also cause muscle tension and tightening, which can predispose to headaches, TMJ, neck spasms or backaches.

TMJ or TMD (temporalmandibular disorder) is often also associated with headaches and sleep breathing problems in patients. We see patients who complain of migraine headaches accompanied by jaw, neck or head pain. People who grind or clench their teeth are particularly at risk of developing bad headaches.

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