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Migraine Headache and Sleep Disturbances in Children
V.A. Miller, MA; T.M. Palermo, PhD; S.W. Powers, PhD;
M.S. Scher, MD; A.D. Hershey, MD, PhD
Posted: June 2003  
Headache 2003;43:362-368

Objectives:   The aim of the present study was to investigate the prevalence of sleep disturbances in children with migraine headaches and to describe individual differences in sleep behaviors based on headache features (eg, frequency, duration, intensity).

Methods:  One hundred eighteen children, aged 2 to 12 years (mean, 9.1; standard deviation, 2.3) were evaluated for headaches at two pediatric neurology departments. Parents completed the Children’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire and a standardized questionnaire regarding headache characteristics.

Results:  Parents reported a high rate of sleep disturbances in children, including sleeping too little (42%), bruxism (29%), child co-sleeping with parents (25%), and snoring (23%). Children with migraine headaches experienced more sleep disturbances compared to published healthy control norms. After controlling for child demographics, we found that the frequency and duration of migraine headaches predicted specific sleep disturbances, including sleep anxiety, parasomnias, and bedtime resistance.

Conclusions:  Children with migraine headaches have a high prevalence of sleep disturbances. The direction of the relationship between headaches and sleep is unknown. Regardless, interventions targeting sleep habits may improve headache symptoms, and effective treatment of headaches in children may positively impact sleep.