Are migraines caused by sleep disorders?

My daughter is very restless in her sleep. She sometimes yawns and talks in her sleep. She crawls round and round her bed. She is nearly impossible to wake in the morning. However gently I try and wake her she usually wakes with a start clutching her head in pain. She has realised that she can give herself a migraine by stressing out about things (like worrying about getting a migraine). Is a sleep problem giving her morning migraines or is going to sleep worrying about having a migraine causing anxiety and poor sleep? She is 12, on one propranolol a day, she suffers vertigo, nausea, sensitivity to light, sound, smell, movement, she struggles to regulate her temperature.


Community Answers
  • up-late
    9 months ago

    The tooth grinding will certainly cause pain and stiffness on waking, I’m a chronic tooth grinder and that’s what I wake to most mornings, I find any kind of head or neck.pain will trigger migraine for me.

    I have had a sleep disorder since primary school (some begin at that age), by high school I’d dropped out because I couldn’t get up for school. It’s vital you see someone about the sleep disorder and insist it be taken seriously as poor school attendance now will only snowball into academic problems for her later. If you cannot get it sorted get her on a correspondance or home schooling schedule before she starts failing subjects (she should quantify because of her health condition), once she’s told she’ll need to repeat a year she will have missed too many of the fundamentals to reach her academic potential and will be playing catch up from then on out. I went from being offered a selective school scholarship in primary to being held back and almost not graduating highschool because of truancy due to the sleep problem (I ended up finishing by correspondence), I went everyday but missing the morning classes was enough to do it.

    I’m only just being evaluated for the sleep disorder now I’m looking to return to study, I’ve spent my adult life working nightshift or in self employment because I couldn’t hold a day job, it’s severely limiting both in terms of career and socially, has long term health risks and carries a stigma. Not trying to scare you but you do need to find a dr who will listen and not waste your time on ones who aren’t interested in getting to the root of the problem.

    I had a lot of problems with teeth grinding and breathing as a child, I had a deviated septum corrected at 13 so I could breathe through my nose, braces to correct a poor bite and a mouth plate to correct my jaw and protect my teeth which helped but for me unfortunately the sleep disorder was unrelated to those things.

  • Ronan
    9 months ago

    That’s crap! Sorry. Can you get a second opinion? I am from Canada, so things are a bit different. Can you get another doctor to make a referral to a headache specialist? This doesn’t make sense to me.

    So sorry you and your child are going through this.

  • MigrainerWarriorsMum author
    9 months ago

    I am looking into changing doctors. My daughter is in a lot of pain, she is often unable to go to school, if I do not send her to school I am committing a criminal act by withholding and education from my child. If I send her in with vertigo she is too unsteady to find her way to class and is stuck in a room on her own. The school rarely gives her work there and there is not always anyone available to help her around the building to any of the classes. If they do and she has migraine, she is not well enough to get back to the sick room. The school has never sent work home to her. I have provided hospital and doctors letters but the school is not helping. My daughters identical twin goes to the same school so they know we are not taking term time holidays and I can get out of bed and to school every day. I cannot get a referral to get my little one better. Will chase up the doctors for referrals, just needed to know if I just had to fight for an appointment with a migraine specialist or if a sleep clinic might be of use, or if I just try to have her tested for histamine intolerance, she has all the symptoms, instead of looking for a cure, find the cause…………It’s so upsetting seeing her so poorly when the referral process is painfully slow. I do not need the stress of having to defend myself for not sending her to school. Many thanks for your reply.

  • Kate
    10 months ago

    It may not be a bad idea to visit a sleep specialist about a sleep study to see if anything is going on in that department. Could be tough to find one to take a pediatric case though (most likely it would be associated with a large hospital). Note that they can diagnose dozens of disorders from an overnight study, not just apnea. Also, sleep disorders (including apnea) can happen at any age and weight.

    I have a number of sleep disorders – apnea, limb movement disorder, and a condition similar to narcolepsy. I also have a constant headache (NDPH) and episodic migraine. However, I haven’t personally found a connection for me between sleep and migraine. I have heard of others having it though. Also, sleep disorders, gastro issues, depression, and/or anxiety are common among headache/migraine patients.

  • MigrainerWarriorsMum author
    9 months ago

    Thank you for your reply. My little one does have migraines if it is too noisy, bright, smelly etc, but she wakes with head pain. We have tried herbal room sprays, relaxing temple balms, soothing sounds, extra ventilation in her room, special diets, magnesium and B supplements……
    I cannot see that Triptans will work because it says take them as soon as you feel an attack coming on, and if her main problem is waking with them I can’t see how that can work.
    I can’t see how she is having a refreshing night sleep when she is spending the night crawling round her bed, talking and yawning and grinding her teeth. She has no idea she is doing it, she thinks she sleeps well but is always tired.
    Will try and get a referral by my doctor seems to think she just has anxiety.

  • Luna
    10 months ago

    Propranolol could be causing “difficulty sleeping or nightmares”. I could not take it because of the lack of sleep issue. No matter what the DR needs to know what is happening.

  • MigrainerWarriorsMum author
    9 months ago

    Hello, she was on a much higher dose of propranolol a day and she was a little better. She was a little better each time they increased her dose but she still needed pain medication and her blood pressure was not good enough to continue increasing the dosage. At my daughters last appointment her usual consultant was unavailable, we saw someone else who said cut right back on the propranolol and drink more and get more sleep. This is not working well and we are supposed to wait 6 months for another appointment.

  • Ronan
    10 months ago

    Stress is a cause of Migraine. But, your daughter doesn’t give them to herself. Lack of sleep or any disruption in a routine can bring on an attack. May want to ask her doctor to refer her to a headache specialist. I’ve never taken Propanol so I can’t speak about the side effects. May want to make that appointment ASAP so other medical conditions can be ruled out.

  • MigrainerWarriorsMum author
    9 months ago

    Thank you, when she is stressed she is a whole lot worse. She is much better weekends although she can still wake up with a mild migraine that soon passes. Did not know if the waking up gently in her own time helped or she had better sleep because she knows there is no school. She is having 6 monthly check ups with a paediatric neurologist and we are not making any progress. She also shows classic signs of histamine intolerance but the diet is so restrictive her doctor said not to carry on as she would not have a varied enough diet. She will not refer my little one for the intolerance test, or a migraine specialist.

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