Prevalence and risk factors of excessive daytime sleepiness in a community sample of young children: The role of obesity, asthma, anxiety/depression, and sleep

Susan L. Calhoun, Alexandros N. Vgontzas, Julio Fernandez-Mendoza, Susan D. Mayes, Marina Tsaoussoglou, Maria Basta, Edward O. Bixler

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Study Objectives: We investigated the prevalence and association of excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) with a wide range of factors (e.g., medical complaints, obesity, objective sleep [including sleep disordered breathing], and parent-reported anxiety/depression and sleep difficulties) in a large general population sample of children. Few studies have researched the prevalence and predictors of EDS in young children, none in a general population sample of children, and the results are inconsistent. Design: Cross-sectional Setting: Population -based. Participants: 508 school-aged children from the general population. Interventions: N/A Measurements and Results: Children underwent a 9-hour polysomnogram (PSG), physical exam, and parent completed health, sleep and psychological questionnaires. Children were divided into 2 groups: those with and without parent reported EDS. The prevalence of subjective EDS was approximately 15%. Significant univariate relationships were found between children with EDS and BMI percentile, waist circumference, heartburn, asthma, and parent reported anxiety/depression, and sleep difficulties. The strongest predictors of EDS were waist circumference, asthma, and parent-reported symptoms of anxiety/depression and trouble falling asleep. All PSG sleep variables including apnea/hypopnea index, caffeine consumption, and allergies were not significantly related to EDS. Conclusions: It appears that the presence of EDS is more strongly associated with obesity, asthma, parent reported anxiety/depression, and trouble falling asleep than with sleep disordered breathing (SDB) or objective sleep disruption per se. Our findings suggest that children with EDS should be thoroughly assessed for anxiety/depression, nocturnal sleep difficulties, asthma, obesity, and other metabolic factors, whereas objective sleep findings may not be as clinically useful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-507
Number of pages5
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)

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