Sleep is atypical across neurodevelopmental disorders in infants and toddlers


  • Heather Mason
  • Univadis Medical News
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Sleep disturbances are common in children with neurodevelopmental disorders and may influence language acquisition, concludes new research.

The cross-syndrome study focused on sleep and its relationship with language development. The Sleep and Naps Oxford Research Inventory (SNORI) and the Oxford Communicative Development Inventory (OCDI) were used on infants or toddlers who were either typically developing (TD) (n=37), or diagnosed as having Down syndrome (DS) (n=30), fragile X syndrome (FXS) (n=15), or Williams syndrome (WS) (n=30).

The relationship between sleep variables and age were assessed. Sleep patterns were described in each group.

There was no significant relationship between age and night-time sleep duration or age and duration of time spent awake at night, nor between age and sleep efficiency, in any of the four groups.

A significant relationship was found between age and duration of naps in three (TD, FXS, WS) of the four groups, and between age and number of naps in all four groups

Sleep was disrupted in children with DS and WS, which also positively associated with receptive vocabulary size.

Disrupted sleep may be a common occurrence in very young children with neurodevelopmental disorders, and relates to language acquisition.