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OBJECTIVES: This study examined differences in sleep patterns by race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status (SES) among children with Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS), and linkages between sleep patterns and neurobehavioral functioning.
METHOD: We used baseline data from the Childhood Adenotonsillectomy Study (CHAT), a multicenter, single-blind, randomized controlled trial designed to evaluate the efficacy of early adenotonsillectomy versus watchful waiting with supportive care for children with OSAS. Participants included children with OSAS (ages 5.0-9.9 years). SES indicators were obtained via questionnaire and geocoding (ArcGIS version 10.1). Caregivers and teachers reported on child inattention/impulsivity and executive functioning. Nighttime sleep duration and variability were measured using five-night sleep diaries.
RESULTS: Black children experienced shorter nighttime sleep duration than White children, by about 25 min, as well as greater sleep duration variability, while sleep duration was more variable in children of "other" racial and ethnic backgrounds versus White children. Of the socioeconomic correlates, only lower family income was associated with sleep duration variability. A short and more variable nighttime sleep duration were each associated with caregiver-rated child inattention and impulsivity. Greater sleep duration variability was linked to greater teacher-rated, but not caregiver-rated, executive functioning impairments.
CONCLUSIONS: Compared to White children with OSAS, Black children with OSAS experience a shorter and more variable nighttime sleep duration. Having a short and/or variable sleep duration may increase risk for neurobehavioral impairments in youth with OSAS, underscoring the potential benefits of sleep health promotion in the context of OSAS care.