Chronic childhood eczema has significant morbidity characterised by physical discomfort, emotional distress, reduced child and family quality-of-life and, of particular note, disturbed sleep characterised by frequent and prolonged arousals. Sleep disturbance affects up to 60% of children with eczema, increasing to 83% during exacerbation. Even when in clinical remission, children with eczema demonstrate more sleep disturbance than healthy children. Notably, disturbed sleep in otherwise healthy children is associated with behavioural and neurocognitive deficits. Preliminary evidence suggests that disturbed sleep in children with eczema is also associated with behavioural deficits while the impact on neuropsychological functioning remains unexplored. In conclusion, a disease which affects up to 20% of children in some countries and may produce long-term behavioural and neurocognitive deficits merits further evaluation using standardised tests of sleep, behaviour and neurocognition.
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