Sleep Apnea and/or Snoring can be the cause of your Morning Headache!

Many people experience moderate to severe morning headaches. If you wake up with a morning headache, sleep apnea and snoring could be to blame. What is the connection between morning headaches, sleep apnea and snoring?

Sleep apnea occurs while you are asleep. People who suffer from sleep apnea stop breathing, often hundreds of times during the night. How does sleep apnea have a connection to morning headaches? The brain is literally starved of oxygen during these hundreds of nightly episodes. If sleep apnea is left untreated the continued “starvation of oxygen to your brain” can actually cause slight brain damage, so it’s no wonder that a person would get morning headaches from this!

One of the main reasons a person that is snoring has morning headaches is due to the snorer having untreated sleep apnea. A symptom of sleep apnea is chronic snoring. While you snore, the constant vibration of your throat tissue can cause damage to the back of your head and neck, causing your morning headache.

If you experience morning headaches, be sure to consult with your doctor. Morning Headaches could be an indication of a more serious health concern.

Dr. Sosenko is a Diplomat of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine and the founder of Dental Sleep Medicine of Illinois. She offers snoring and apnea sufferer’s relief through professional oral appliance device therapy. Visit her podcast page for  more information.

Your Best Options for Defeating Your Snoring Problem

If you (and those around you) have long suffered with a snoring, but do not have an apnea problem, you’re probably looking for the best option to get rid of this problem once and for all. Let’s review your options.

  •  Weight loss

If you are found to have snoring and not have apnea, if you’re overweight, weight loss is a great place to start. Sometimes just 20 pounds difference can make a big difference in the world of snoring and apnea. That’s usually recommended at the beginning.

  •  Over-the-counter sleep aids

There are a lot of different types of over-the-counter sleep aids available, including breathe strips, back-avoiding devices, and different types of pillows. You might want to try something, especially if you’re not having apnea and you’re just snoring on your back. They train you to keep off your back.

  •  Retainers and mouth devices

Be very, very careful with devices like PureSleep and SnoreMender. I don’t recommend them at all. There’s lack of follow-up with those devices, and it’s pretty common to see changes in people’s bites, even speech, with using some of these appliances, because there’s really nobody to help guiding you as to the position and what to do to counteract these side effects. I know there are some physicians that are recommending them out there, but only for short periods of time.

  •  Professional oral appliances

Professional oral appliances are highly recommended for snoring, probably the best option. We urge you to seek somebody from the Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, preferably a Diplomate. Those are dentists that are trained more than just a couple classes. They’ve actually taken tests and have built a relationship with the medical community based on snoring and apnea treatment.

Usually their expertise is far different than the general practitioner or general dentist, just as the sleep physicians and the general practice physicians. Typically the amount taught in dental and medical school is pretty minor compared to people who seek training through these academies. That’s the Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, and preferably a Diplomate.

These appliances are custom-made, and it’s important to work with an office that can help you prevent some of the side effects that can develop with these jaw retainers.

  • Surgery

Surgery is still out there and recommended by some ear/nose/throat physicians, but for just the milder cases the results tend to be pretty short-lived.

  • Or you can do nothing. I know that that leaves some relationships strained, misery in some people, so I definitely don’t recommend doing nothing for primary snoring.

Now if you do have apnea with your snoring, your treatment options are different. You really want to consult with a certified snoring specialist to make sure you’re treating the right problem in the right way.

Visit our site at for additional free resources, or call 1-800-SNORING to either make an appointment at our office or get a referral to a certified specialist in your area.

Your snoring may be causing depression in your bed partner!

  • Does your bed partner complain about your snoring?
  • Is your bed partner tired and irritable during the day?
  • Does your bed partner show signs of depression?

A recent study by Sleep and Breathing, focused on the bed partners of snorers.  The study found that when a snorer was treated, the bed partners depression scores improved.

This was one of the first studies to include a snoring and/or sleep apnea sufferers bed partner.

At Dental Sleep and TMD Center of Illlinois, we truly belive treating your sleep apnea and snoring can help improve your relationships!

Find out more about treating your snoring with an Oral Appliance by arranging a consultation with Dr. Lydia Sosenko of Naperville, Illinois.

Does Sleep Apnea cause Dementia? Latest study finds a link.

The latest studies, published August 11, 2011 by the Journal of American Medical Association,  have found that older women with sleep apnea are twice as likely to develop dementia than those without sleep apnea.

“This is the first study to show that sleep apnea MAY lead to cognitive impairment,” study leader Dr. Kristine Yaffe, professor of psychiatry, neurology and epidemiology at the University of California at San Francisco, said in a written statement. “It suggests that there is a biological connection between sleep and cognition.”  retrieved 8/18/11:

298 women, over the age of 65, made up the group that participated in the study. None of these women had suffered from dementia in the 5 years previous to the study. The study found 32.5% suffered from dementia or mild cognitive impairment, half of these women had untreated sleep apnea. The study suggested treatment for sleep apnea could prevent or help prevent the onset of dementia.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a life threatening and life altering condition that causes a person to stop breathing repeatedly during sleep. The oxygen deprivation that results can trigger severe health problems. The restless sleep that also results from OSA affects the quality of life of individuals. The bed partner’s sleep can also be disrupted by his or her partner’s snoring, pauses in breathing and restless sleep.

What happens during a sleep apnea event?

  • The muscles in the throat relax and the tongue is sucked against the throat blocking the airway.
  • The entire upper airway is blocked causing air flow to stop.
  • Air (and oxygen) cannot flow into the lungs.
  • When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough, the sleeper partially awakens, the obstruction in the throat clears, and the flow of air starts again – usually with a loud gasp or snort.
  • People with untreated apnea are generally not aware of the awakenings but only of being sleepy during the day.
  • Loud snoring, mixed with periods of silence (apnea), is typical but is not always present, especially in children.

How can you treat sleep apnea?

The specific therapy selected for an individual with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is based on the patient’s medical history, physical examination, and the results of the polysomnography. Multiple treatments are available for OSA including, but not limited to :

  • Behavioral modifications (see below)
  • CPAP
  • Oral appliance therapy
  • Surgery
  • Pharmacological treatment – currently marginally effective

In many cases, Oral Appliance Therapy is the best option for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. To find out more about Oral Appliance Therapy, and how Dr. Lydia Sosenko of Dental Sleep and TMD Center of Illinois can treat your sleep apnea, please  visit our website:

Referenced Articles:

“Tongue Zapper” in the News as Aid for Snoring and Apnea

Recent headlines in the news have described a potential new treatment option for snoring and apnea sufferers. The excitement on this potential treatment option lies in the fact that 40-60% of patients that have prescribed the treatment of CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) do not use their machines.  Many more who have snoring symptoms without apnea are not using anything at all to control their snoring, often causing disturbances with their sleep partners.  Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person’s airway is blocked repeatedly throughout the night, from 5 to over 100 times per night. Left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can lead to life threatening conditions. Some of these include high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack and more.

This new “tongue-zapper” therapy is based on hypoglossal nerve stimulation.  With this treatment a small pacemaker like generator is implanted under the skin near the collarbone. A small wire leads to the hypoglossal nerve near the base of the tongue.  The relaxation of the tongue, jaw and associated muscles and tissues often lead to the airway blocks that occur during apnea.  As breathing is monitored by sensors, a signal is delivered to this nerve.  Signals include mild electrical currents that “zap” the tongue muscles preventing them from relaxing to the point of blocking the airway.

It’s important to realize that this type of therapy is experimental and although studies are scheduled, my research has found that only a handful of patients at most to date have been treated worldwide with this implant.  My clinical observation from working with apnea patients for the past 15 years  is  that although this therapy remains hopeful for some select patients, there are far more associated anatomical obstructions and considerations  of the airway in addition to the tongue muscles. In addition, medical reimbursement for experimental therapy remains almost impossible.

Patients looking for an alternative for CPAP therapy at this time would overwhelmingly  benefit from oral appliance therapy that has been developed,studied and researched for over 30 years. Oral appliance therapy remains the standard of care as an alternative for mild to moderate apnea and for those with severe who are not able to use CPAP therapy.


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