Objective: To determine the prevalence of sleep problems in children with Down syndrome.
Design and setting: A community prevalence study in a child population of 100,000 in England.
Participants: 58 children with Down syndrome aged to 0.65-17.9 yrs (mean 8.6 years).
Interventions: Child Sleep Habits Questionnaire.
Results: Compared to published data for typically developing populations, children were reported to have significantly greater bedtime resistance, sleep anxiety, night waking, parasomnias, sleep disordered breathing and day-time sleepiness. Amongst children 4 years and older 66% rarely fell asleep in their own beds; 55% were always restless during sleep and 40% usually woke at least once in the night. Importantly, 78% seemed tired during the day at least 2 days per week, suggesting inadequate sleep.
Conclusions: Parents report universal sleep problems in school aged children with Down syndrome. Paediatricians should routinely enquire about sleep behaviour in these children.