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Rest Easier

Frequent headaches have been linked to an assortment of sleep disorders. Up to 4% of adults suffer from chronic daily headache (CDH), or headaches 15 or more days each month (that's over 180 headache days per year).

Some types of CDH generally last over four hours per episode, including chronic migraines and tension-type headaches.

Recently, researchers sought information about a possible link between CDH and snoring. Using a randomly generated list of telephone numbers in the Atlanta, Philadelphia and Baltimore areas, nearly 3,000 adults with CDH and over 50,000 others with less-frequent headaches (anywhere from none to about 100 days each year) were questioned about sleep and lifestyle habits. Participants also reported on the frequency of snoring in this study in the journal Neurology: never, less than half of nights, more than half of nights, always or unknown.

Habitual snoring, as defined by answering "always" on the snoring-frequency survey, appeared in 24% of CDH sufferers compared to only 14% of nonsufferers. In fact, individuals suffering from chronic daily headache were almost three times more likely to be habitual snorers than non-sufferers, after ruling out other factors associated with snoring.

Do headaches cause sleep disorders, or do sleep disorders cause headaches? We still don't have all the answers. But the researchers cited one preventable cause of CDH: overuse of medications, specifically sedatives for pain and depression. Go easy on the medications, find a safe way to prevent snoring and try to sleep more hours, and maybe you'll have fewer headaches and better sleep. Talk to your chiropractor for more information.

Scher AI, Lipton RB, Stewart WF. Habitual snoring as a risk factor for chronic daily headache. Neurology 2003:60, pp. 1366-1368.

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