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Headaches and Their Relationship to Sleep
Biondi DM.
Posted November 2002  
Dent Clin North Am   2001; 45:685-700

Despite the complex influences of normal sleep physiology and sleep disorders on the development or presentation of headache, it is important to recognize and understand these relationships. Successful outcomes depend on the provision of treatment interventions specifically directed toward each condition. Nocturnal or early morning headaches that are associated with OSA are often eradicated after the sleep disorder is successfully managed with CPAP, oral appliances, or surgery. Substantial improvement in headache can also result from the successful management of other sleep disorders that may incite headaches such as heavy snoring, PLMS, or the various forms of insomnia. To improve headache patterns associated with bruxism and TMD, it is often necessary to formulate a multidisciplinary treatment approach that combines oral appliance therapy, stress management, biofeedback, oromandibular physical therapy, and at times, pharmacologic treatment (i.e. tricyclic antidepressant, intramuscular botulinum toxin injections). There are still many gaps in the understanding of the interrelationships of sleep physiology and headache pathophysiology. More well-designed clinical trials are needed so that sufficient data can be amassed for the formulation of evidence-based guidelines or consensus statements that can better delineate the identification, diagnostic evaluation, and treatment of sleep-related headache disorders and headaches that develop as a consequence of disordered sleep.