Children with snoring and mild sleep-disordered breathing may be at increased risk for neurocognitive deficits despite few obstructive events. We hypothesized that actigraphy-based sleep duration and continuity associate with neurobehavioral functioning and explored whether these associations vary by demographic and socioeconomic factors.
298 children enrolled in the Pediatric Adenotonsillectomy Trial, aged 3 to 12 years, 47.3% from racial or ethnic minority groups, with habitual snoring and an apnea-hypopnea index <3 were studied with actigraphy (mean 7.5 ± 1.4 days) and completed a computerized vigilance test (Go-No-Go) and a test of fine motor control (9-Hole Pegboard). Caregivers completed the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF). Regression analyses evaluated associations between sleep exposures (24-hour and nocturnal sleep duration, sleep fragmentation index, sleep efficiency) with the BRIEF Global Executive Composite index, pegboard completion time (fine motor control), and vigilance (d prime on the Go-No-Go), adjusting for demographic factors and study design measures.
Longer sleep duration, higher sleep efficiency and lower sleep fragmentation were associated with better executive function; each additional hour of sleep over 24 hours associated with more than a 3-point improvement in executive function (p=0.002). Longer nocturnal sleep (p=0.02) and less sleep fragmentation (p=0.001) were associated with better fine motor control. Stronger associations were observed for boys and children less than six years old.
Sleep quantity and continuity are associated with neurocognitive functioning in children with mild sleep-disordered breathing, supporting efforts to target these sleep health parameters as part of interventions for reducing neurobehavioral morbidity.
Pediatric Adenotonsillectomy for Snoring (PATS), clinicaltrials.gov.: NCT02562040.