Developmental Profile of Sleep and Its Potential Impact on Daytime Functioning from Childhood to Adulthood in Sickle Cell Anaemia

Brain Sci. 2020 Dec 14;10(12):981. doi: 10.3390/brainsci10120981.


Young individuals with sickle cell anaemia (SCA) experience sleep disturbances and often experience daytime tiredness, which in turn may impact on their daytime functioning and academic attainment, but there are few longitudinal data.

Methods: Data on sleep habits and behaviour were taken on the same day as an in-hospital polysomnography. This study assesses the developmental sleep profiles of children and young adults aged 4-23 years old with SCA. We examined retrospective polysomnography (PSG) and questionnaire data.

Results: A total of 256 children with a median age of 10.67 years (130 male) were recruited and 179 returned for PSG 1.80-6.72 years later. Later bedtimes and a decrease in total sleep time (TST) were observed. Sleep disturbances, e.g., parasomnias and night waking, were highest in preschool children and young adults at their first visit. Participants with lower sleep quality, more movement during the night and increased night waking experienced daytime sleepiness, potentially an indicator of lower daytime functioning. Factors influencing sleep quantity included age, hydroxyurea prescription, mean overnight oxygen saturation, sleep onset latency, periodic limb movement, socioeconomic status and night waking.

Conclusion: Sleep serves an important role for daytime functioning in SCA; hence, quantitative (i.e., PSG for clinical symptoms, e.g., sleep-disordered breathing, nocturnal limb movement) and qualitative (i.e., questionnaires for habitual sleep behaviour) assessments of sleep should be mutually considered to guide interventions.

Keywords: blood disorders; developmental trajectory; obstructive sleep apnoea; polysomnography; sickle cell anaemia; sleep characteristics.