Clinical presentation, diagnosis and polysomnographic findings in children with migraine referred to sleep clinics

Keren Armoni Domany*, Hadas Nahman-Averbuch, Christopher D. King, Thomas Dye, Yuanfang Xu, Monir Hossain, Andrew D. Hershey, Narong Simakajornboon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: An association between migraine and sleep disturbances in children was reported, yet limited clinical data exist. The current study addresses the clinical presentation, polysomnographic (PSG) characteristics, and comorbid sleep diagnoses of children with migraine referred to the sleep clinic. Patients: A retrospective review was performed of headache center patients evaluated by the sleep center between 2007 and 2017. Children ≤18 years old, diagnosed with migraine headache, and who had PSG within one year of evaluation in the headache clinic, were included. PSG findings, as well as demographics, were compared to a group of controls aged 5-14 years-old. Results: In sum, 185 children with a diagnosis of migraine were included: 39% males, 75% Caucasian, mean age 13.5 ± 3.4, and 57% obese. Additionally, 180 children were included in the control group. The common presenting sleep symptoms were snoring (66%), sleep onset and sleep maintenance problems (25%), and excessive daytime sleepiness (20%). For the sleep diagnosis, 40% had obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), 27% had insomnia, 15% had periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD), and 6% had a central disorder of hypersomnolence. In terms of sleep architecture, children with migraine had significantly higher NREM 2 (p < 0.001) and a lower percentage of NREM3 (p < 0.001) compared to controls after adjustment for demographics and the presence of sleep-disordered breathing. Conclusions: Children referred to the sleep clinic who also had migraine, experience various types of sleep complaints. OSA, insomnia, and PLMD were relatively common in this population. Changes in sleep architecture, specifically increased NREM2 and decreased slow wave sleep compared to the control group, were also observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-63
Number of pages7
JournalSleep Medicine
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Children
  • Insomnia
  • Migraine
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep architecture


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