Headaches From a Lack of Sleep

By: Geoff Gilman

Do you frequently deal with headaches?

What do you think causes those headaches? The type of headaches you deal with could have a lot more to do with a lack of sleep or even your airway.

There are different types of headaches.

There are tension headaches that are in the base of your neck which is usually caused by stress and dehydration.

There are migraine headaches that deal with blood pressure in your head.

Another type of headache is an oxygen deprivation headache, which is where you have a headache in the center of your forehead when you first wake up and is caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain. This would be an airway issue.

A lack of sleep can also cause headaches.

The whole brain can suffer from a lack of sleep. However, the frontal lobe is typically where you will feel the headache the most. 

That area of the brain and the functions it is responsible for are what we usually see affected immediately in a negative way. Long term, there are many ill effects of not getting enough sleep. Waking up regularly will also have a similar effect as it results in a poor quality of sleep. Something to take note of is waking up consistently in the night could be related to an airway issue. 

Maybe you think a simple solution to this headache is a cup of coffee every morning, not realizing what this headache actually is.

There is an important cleaning process that takes place throughout the course of sleep.

There is a fluid that is present in our brains that is called the cerebrospinal fluid. When we sleep it is believed that this fluid will wash out our brain and get rid of accumulated waste. This waste includes potentially toxic proteins that may otherwise build up and can impair the flow of information between neurons as well as leave proteins that hinder our ability to tolerate pain, making those nasty headaches even worse.

Good sleeping habits are going to be your best defense against these types of headaches. However, if you’re getting that eight or so hours of shut-eye and still suffering from headaches, you might be dealing with a sleep disorder.

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder and will also decrease your oxygen levels, making things even worse. This type of headache is also associated with oxygen deprivation in your brain. Oxygen deprivation can lead to both memory loss and moodiness. It may be possible to help your headaches, irritability, or forgetfulness simply by treating your sleep apnea!

If you feel like you just need to work on your sleeping habits, read our article about neglecting sleep and start working on those habits!

If you feel you might be dealing with a sleep disorder, consider taking an in-home test. They are easier than ever these days!