Comorbidities of sleep disorders in childhood and adolescence: focus on migraine
Claudia Dosi,1 Assia Riccioni,1 Martina della Corte,1 Luana Novelli,1 Raffaele Ferri,2 Oliviero Bruni1
1Department of Social and Developmental Psychology, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy; 2Sleep Research Centre, Oasi Institute for Research on Mental Retardation and Brain Aging (IRCCS), Troina, Italy
Abstract: The correlation and/or comorbidity between sleep disorders and headache has been reported in numerous studies, but the exact nature of the association between headache, disordered sleep, and underlying mechanisms remains poorly understood. The bidirectional association between sleep and headache is mediated by a temporal link (headache occurs during sleep, after sleep, and in relationship with sleep stages), by a quantitative relationship (excess, lack, bad quality, short duration of sleep may trigger headache), and by a reciprocal connection (headache may cause sleep disruption and may be associated with several sleep disturbances). This association is most evident for primary headache disorders, especially in childhood. A congenital alteration of neurotransmitter pathways (serotoninergic and dopaminergic) might predispose individuals to both disorders, presenting as sleep–wake rhythm disorder in infancy or as headache disorder later in childhood, as result of this neurotransmitter imbalance. Clinicians should be aware that a complete clinical evaluation of childhood headache includes a careful sleep history, taking into account that the treatment of sleep disturbances could lead to an improvement of headache symptoms and vice versa.
Keywords: sleep, headache, migraine, childhood, adolescence
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