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Sleep disturbance common in children with atopic dermatitis

23 Jan 2018

Wake after sleep onset (WASO) is higher while sleep efficiency is lower among children with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (AD) as compared with healthy controls, a recent study has shown. However, bedtime and wake time, sleep duration, and sleep onset latency are similar between the two groups.

A total of 19 patients with AD and 19 control participants completed the study. Children with AD had WASO for 103 plus or minus 55 minutes as compared with 50 plus or minus 27 minutes in the control group (p<0.01). Furthermore, patients with AD had a higher frequency of restless sleep, daytime sleepiness, difficulty falling back to sleep at night and teacher-reported daytime sleepiness.

A robust correlation existed between disease severity and WASO (total SCORing Atopic Dermaticts score: r, 0.61; p<0.01; objecting SCORing Atopic Dermatitis score: r, 0.58; p=0.01; and Eczema Area and Severity Index: r, 0.68; p<0.01). The Children’s Dermatology Life Quality Index sleep question was associated with WASO (r, 0.52; p=0.03), but self-reported itch severity was not (r, 0.28; p=0.30).

These findings should be taken in light of certain limitations, such as the small sample size, according to the authors.

In this case-control study, the authors compared children aged 6‒17 years who have moderate-to-severe AD with age- and sex-matched healthy controls to characterize sleep in patients with AD and to determine methods for assessing sleep disturbance. Participants wore actigraphy watches as well as completed sleep- and disease-specific questionnaires.

“Sleep is disturbed in 60 percent of children with AD,” according to the authors.

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