Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Insomnia & Headaches in Young Children

A new study links insomnia symptoms with headaches and gastrointestinal regurgitation in young children. The results were published yesterday in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

The study involved 700 children. They were between 5 and 12 years of age. Parents completed sleep and development questionnaires for their child.

Results show that 19 percent of children had parent-reported
insomnia symptoms. These children had trouble falling asleep and/or woke up often in the night.

Headaches were reported in about 24 percent of children with insomnia. About 13 percent of children without disturbed sleep had headaches. Statistical analysis found that insomnia was 2.3 times more likely in children with headaches.

Gastrointestinal regurgitation was reported in 7.5 percent of children with insomnia. Only two percent of children who were good sleepers had this problem. Insomnia was 3.3 times more likely in children with gastrointestinal regurgitation. It occurs when food or liquid comes back up into your mouth.

The authors noted that the study did not examine causality. But the relationship could be bidirectional.

Medical problems often disturb sleep. And insomnia symptoms may activate the stress response system. This could cause other medical complaints.

Lead author Dr. Ravi Singareddy told the AASM that children with insomnia symptoms should be screened by their doctor for underlying medical problems. Unresolved sleep problems may require further assessment by a sleep specialist.

In July the Sleep Education Blog
reported that morning headaches are one warning sign for obstructive sleep apnea in children. Another study found that there may be a link between headaches, naps and insomnia in adults.

Learn more about sleep and children. Get help for a sleep problem at an AASM-accredited sleep center near you.

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