Sleep in infants and toddlers with Down syndrome compared to typically developing peers: looking beyond snoring

Soonyiu Yau, Ruth Pickering, Paul Gringras, Heather E Elphick, Hazel Evans, Michael Farquhar, Jane Martin, Anna Joyce, Janine Reynolds, Ruth N Kingshott, Jodi A Mindell, Catherine M. Hill

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)
    38 Downloads (Pure)


    Aims: To compare sleep in infants and toddlers with Down syndrome (DS) to typically developing controls, including differences in snoring and sleep ecology (sleep setting and parent behaviors). Methods: Parents of 104 children with DS and 489 controls aged 6–36 months completed the Brief Infant Sleep Questionnaire (BISQ). We explored group differences, controlling for demographic variables. Results: Parents of children with DS reported more sleep problems (45% v 19%), snoring (19% vs 2%), room-sharing (37% vs 17%), as well as less night-time sleep (55 mins) and total sleep over 24 h (38 mins). They were more likely to be present when their child fell asleep (OR 4.40). Snoring increased night waking but did not limit night-time/24-hour sleep. However, parental presence was associated with 55 min less night-time and 64 min less 24-hour sleep. After controlling for snoring and parental presence, children with DS slept less at night (38 mins) but more during the day (21 mins) with no significant difference in 24-hour sleep. Conclusions: Overall, significant differences in sleep patterns, problems, and ecology were found between children with DS and controls. Parental presence at settling, not snoring, explained most differences, including over an hour's less 24-hour sleep. Early intervention programmes that promote self-soothing skills could prevent the burden of sleep loss in young children with DS.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)88-97
    Number of pages10
    JournalSleep Medicine
    Early online date25 May 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


    • Behavioral insomnia
    • Down syndrome
    • Sleep disordered breathing
    • Sleep ecology
    • Sleep patterns
    • Snoring

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medicine(all)


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