Background: Exposure to mould or dampness at home has been associated with adverse respiratory effects in all age groups. This exposure has also been related to insomnia in adults. We aimed to investigate the association between exposure to visible mould or dampness at home and sleep problems in children.
Methods: The study population consisted of 1719 10-year-old children from the German population-based birth cohort LISAplus with available data on current mould or dampness at home and sleep problems. The presence of visible mould or dampness at home was assessed by questionnaire. Parent-reported sleep problems of their child were analysed by four binary variables: presence of any sleep problems, problems to fall asleep, problems sleeping through the night and a 24h sleep time of less than 9h. Logistic regression models adjusted for study centre, sex, age and level of parental education were applied to examine the association between visible mould or dampness at home and sleep problems. Sensitivity analyses included a further adjustment for bedroom sharing and subgroup analyses in children without current allergic diseases.
Results: Thirteen percent of parents reported visible mould or dampness at home. We observed increased risks for all four sleep problem variables for children exposed to visible mould or dampness at home. Results were significant for any sleep problems (odds ratio (OR)=1.77 (95%-confidence interval (CI): 1.21-2.60), problems sleeping through the night (OR=2.52(1.27-5.00) and a short sleep time (OR=1.68(1.09-2.61)). While a further adjustment for bedroom sharing and the exclusion of children with asthma or eczema led to similar results, only the association with a short sleep time was still present in children without allergic rhinoconjunctivitis.
Conclusion: Our data suggests that visible mould or dampness at home might negatively influence sleep in children. The influence of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis on this association needs to be investigated in future studies.
Keywords: Cohort study; Epidemiology; Indoor exposure.
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.