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Asian Pac J Allergy Immunol. 2006 Jun-Sep;24(2-3):135-42.

Nocturnal symptoms and sleep disturbances in clinically stable asthmatic children.

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Department of Respiratory Medicine, Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute, University of Delhi, Delhi, India.


Presence of nocturnal symptoms is related to asthma severity. Clinically stable asthmatic children, too, report frequent nocturnal symptoms and sleep disturbances. The study determined these parameters in stable, asthmatic children, in their home environment. This case-control, questionnaire-based study in 70 school-going children comprised 40 asthmatics (Group 1) and 30, age/gender matched, healthy children (Group 2). Parents maintained peak expiratory flow (PEF) and sleep diaries for one week. Group 1 had significantly lower mean morning (250.3 vs. 289.1 I/minute) and mean evening PEF values (261.7 vs. 291.3 I/minute). Group 1 (38.95%), reported frequent nocturnal symptoms like cough (36.90%), breathlessness (32.80%), wheeze (27.68%) and chest tightness (14.35%). Sleep disturbances, significant in Group 1 (38, 95% vs. 14.35%), included daytime sleepiness (24.60%), daytime tiredness (20.50%), difficulty in maintaining sleep (15.38%), early morning awakening (14.35%), struggle against sleep during daytime (12.30%), and involuntarily falling asleep (17.43%). On a scale of 1-6, Group 1 scored significant sleep disturbances/patient (3 vs. 0.8); lethargy/tiredness in morning (2.9 vs. 2.2), poorer sleep quality (4.7 vs. 5.4), less parents' satisfaction with child's sleep (4.5 vs. 5.5) and daytime fitness (4.1 vs. 5.3). Group 1, when exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (22, 55%), reported significant nocturnal symptoms (18/22, 81%) and reduced mean morning and evening PEF values (17/22, 77%). It is concluded that clinically stable, asthmatic children reported increased nocturnal symptoms, sleep disturbances and poorer sleep quality. Lack of awareness of asthma-sleep association and its clinical implications could lead to poor asthma control and impaired daytime activity.

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