Children With Headaches

By: Kimberly Price
By: Kimberly Price

If you have a school-age or teenage child, you know how tough it can be to make sure they get enough sleep. Homework, sports, music lessons and other activities sometimes infringe on sleep.
And if your child has frequent headaches, the problem could be even worse.

A new study shows, kids who get headaches lose even more sleep than those who don't. That's because headaches and sleep problems tend to go hand in hand.

Dr. Lenora Lehwald says: "Children who have chronic daily headaches have a 67-percent chance of also having a sleep disturbance." And it's a 20-percent chance for kids with headaches that come and go.

Here's the problem. It's sort of like the "chicken and the egg" thing. Headaches may cause difficulty sleeping, but lack of sleep makes the headaches worse.

Dr. Lehwald says: "until we address the sleep disorder, we're not going to have very much luck in trying to improve the headache disorder."

Doctors recommend good sleep hygiene, which includes using the bedroom for sleep only (not TV or video games), having a bedtime routine and having a consistent bed and wake-up time each day. Prescription medications can also break the headache cycle.

Doctors say, if your child gets headaches, you can avoid having them turn into chronic daily headaches by making sure he or she gets enough sleep.

And it's important not to use over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen every day. Daily doses can actually make headaches worse.

Talk to your doctor to find a medication that works best for your child.

For more information go to www.mayoclinic.org.


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