< All Topics

2014 – Sleep and headache in children

Title: The relationship between sleep and headache in children: Implications for treatment
Authors: Vincenzo Guidetti, Claudia Dosi and Oliviero Bruni
Published: Cephalalgia. 2014 Sep;34(10):767-76
Link: https://doi.org/10.1177/0333102414541817


Background: The existence of a correlation and/or comorbidity between sleep disorders and headache, related to common anatomical structures and neurochemical processes, has important implications for the treatment of both conditions.

Methods: The high prevalence of certain sleep disorders in children with migraine and the fact that sleep is disrupted in these patients highlight the importance of a specific therapy targeted to improve both conditions.

Findings: The treatment of sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, sleep bruxism and restless legs syndrome, either with behavioral or pharmacological approach, often leads to an improvement of migraine. Drugs like serotoninergic and dopaminergic compounds are commonly used for sleep disorders and for migraine prophylaxis and treatment: Insomnia, sleep-wake transition disorders and migraine have been related to the serotonergic system abnormality; on the other hand prodromal symptoms of migraine (yawning, drowsiness, irritability, mood changes, hyperactivity) support a direct role for the dopaminergic system that is also involved in sleep-related movement disorders.

Conclusions: Our review of the literature revealed that, beside pharmacological treatment, child education and lifestyle modification including sleep hygiene could play a significant role in overall success of the treatment. Therefore comorbid sleep conditions should be always screened in children with migraine in order to improve patient management and to choose the most appropriate treatment.

About Nocturnal Sweating

A pioneering study on a large pediatric headache sample showed for the first time that both migraine and tension headache were associated with different sleep disorders but the migraine group tended to have ‘‘a more disturbed sleep’’ with increased prevalence of nocturnal symptoms such assleep breathing disorders, restless sleep and parasom-nias, and of daytime sleepiness.Following this original research, other authors investigated this relation, reporting that children with migraine headaches have a large range of sleep disturbances like bedtime resistance, insufficient and interrupted sleep, sleep-disordered breathing, disorders of arousal, sweating during sleep, difficulty waking up in the morning and daytime sleepiness

Table of Contents