The developmental trajectory of sleep in children with Smith-Magenis syndrome compared to typically developing peers: A three-year follow-up study
To determine the trajectory of: (i) objective sleep parameters and (ii) caregiver-reported sleep questionnaire scores over 3 years in children with Smith-Magenis syndrome (SMS) compared to age-matched typically developing (TD) controls. We also aimed to (iii) describe individual profiles of change in sleep parameters over time.
Week-long, overnight actigraphy and questionnaire data from 13 children with SMS and 13 age-matched TD children were collected at Time 1 and Time 2 (3 years later). Independent samples t-tests, paired samples t-tests, and Bayesian analyses were used to compare sleep parameters and sleep questionnaire scores between groups at each time point and compare data within groups to assess change over time.
Sleep parameters were consistently more disrupted in the SMS group than the TD group, with significantly reduced sleep efficiency, increased wake after sleep onset and earlier get up times at both time points. This was mirrored in the questionnaire data, with children with SMS evidencing higher scores for overall sleep disturbance, night waking, and daytime sleepiness. While TD sleep parameters demonstrated expected developmental changes over 3 years, in the SMS group sleep parameters and variability between and within children remained largely stable. However, some children with SMS showed substantial variation in sleep parameters over time. Questionnaire scores remained stable over 3 years in both groups.
Overall, sleep disturbance appears to be a stable feature of SMS, indicative of a divergent sleep trajectory compared to TD peers. Proactive intervention approaches should be considered for poor sleep in SMS.
This study was funded by the charity Cerebra, via a PhD fellowship awarded to the first author.
Author affiliationSchool of Psychology and Vision Science, University of Leicester
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