Children with Down Syndrome Suffer from Sleep Disorders, Too

Nearly 5,400 infants are born with Down syndrome in the United States every year, making it the leading genetic cause of intellectual disability in the country. Though children with Down syndrome often suffer from multiple associated disorders, such as autism and asthma, a new paper sheds light on a relatively unknown problem in this population: sleep disorders.

imageIn the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, researchers documented sleep behavior among children and adolescents with Down syndrome. They found that 65 percent had significant sleep problems that were primarily behavioral in nature. Additionally, 46 percent screened positive for sleep-related breathing problems while 21 percent screened positive for sleep related movement disorders. Too often, parents and caregivers were not fully aware of these issues, particularly those beyond sleep-related breathing problems. Study authors also found that difficulty in sleeping was more common in children dealing with other issues, such as asthma, autism and enlarged tonsils.

The authors hope their findings will alert physicians to the fact that various types of sleep disorders are quite frequent among children with Down syndrome and that this knowledge augments the care these children receive. Treating sleep disorders may also help alleviate other associated conditions in this population.

The study was a collaboration between the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Authors include Claire A. Hoffmire, PhD., Caroline I. Magyar, PhD., Heidi V. Connolly, MD., Diana Fernandez, MD., Edwin van Wijngaarden, PhD.




Debamita Chatterjee | 5/19/2014 | 1 comment


Darcie Maranich
As the mother of a fourteen-year-old daughter with Down syndrome, I would be very interested in learning more about this study. We've been struggling with sleep disruptions for years. And, as you suggested in the post, I expected the problem to resolve once she had her tonsils and adenoids removed. I'd be very interested in learning more about how behavioral issues affect sleep and potential solutions. Has this study been published yet?
7/16/2014 6:14:51 PM
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