The study showed that children who suffer from migraines are twice as likely to have sleep apnea, compared to children who do not have migraines. It was also found that severe migraines in children are associated with shorter total sleep time, taking a longer time to fall asleep, and shorter REM sleep.
Ninety children were included in the study, all of which suffered from some type of chronic headache and sleep problems. Sixty of the children suffered from migraines, 11 from chronic daily headache, 6 from tension headaches, and 13 from nonspecific headache. To conduct the study, all of the children underwent a polysomnogram, to monitor their brain, eye movements, muscle activity, heart rhythm, and breathing.
In addition, it was found that 50% of children with tension headache grind their teeth at night.
“Sleeping problems can exacerbate the problems migraine causes on a child’s health and may hinder a child’s performance at school,” says Martina Vendrame, MD, PhD, and author of the study. “Parents and doctors need to be aware of the strong likelihood of sleep disorders in children with migraine and seek appropriate preventions and treatments.”