Nightmares and snoring can cause headaches in kids

You may want to pay closer attention the next time your child wakes you up after he has experienced a nightmare.

Does your child grind their teeth during a nightmare, or if they snore? This can lead to them developing headaches.

According to a new study, nightmares and snoring can lead to a child developing a headache. The recent study published in the Journal of Craniomandibular Practice found that nightmares and snoring are linked to bruxism (grinding your teeth at night). “It is well documented that bruxism can lead to headaches,” says Dr Elliot Shevel, South Africa’s pioneer in the field of migraine surgery and the medical director of The Headache Clinic. “The causes of bruxism are largely unknown, but risk factors are anxiety, stress, caffeine, sleep apnoea, snoring, and fatigue.”

The aim of the study

The aim of the study was to investigate the routine, sleep history, and orofacial disorders associated with children between the ages of three and seven with nocturnal bruxism (grinding their teeth at night). Data about the children’s routine during the day, during sleep and awakening, headache frequency, temporomandibular joint, and hearing impairments were obtained through interviews with parents and caregivers. An electromyography examination – a diagnostic procedure to assess the health of muscles and the nerve cells that control them – was used to assess the activity of facial muscles. Multiple logistic regression, chi-square test, and T-test analyses were also performed. “This study confirms that snoring and nightmares may also lead to children grinding their teeth,” says Dr Shevel. This tension in turn can lead to headaches developing.

Symptoms and treatment for migraines

“We have found that muscle tension in the jaws, face, head, and neck are some of the major underlying causes of migraine,” says Dr Shevel. “Parents should consider treating the muscle tension in their kids to prevent migraine pain while addressing the underlying fear and insecurities causing their child’s nightmares.”