Sleep disorders in children after treatment for a CNS tumour

Lisa M Verberne, Heleen Maurice-Stam, Martha A Grootenhuis, Hanneke M Van Santen, Antoinette Y N Schouten-Van Meeteren

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The long-term survival of children with a central nervous system (CNS) tumour is improving. However, they experience late effects, including altered habits and patterns of sleep. We evaluated the presence and type of sleep disorders and daytime sleepiness in these children, and its associations with clinical characteristics and daily performance (fatigue and psychosocial functioning). In a cross-sectional study at the outpatient clinic of the Emma Children's Hospital AMC (February-June 2010), sleep, fatigue and psychosocial functioning were analysed in 31 CNS tumour patients (mean age: 11.8years; 20 boys) and compared with 78 patients treated for a non-CNS malignancy (mean age: 9.7years; 41 boys) and norm data. Questionnaires applied were the Sleep Disorder Scale for Children, the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory, and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Sleeping habits and endocrine deficiencies were assessed with a self-developed questionnaire. Increased somnolence was found in CNS tumour patients compared with those with a non-CNS malignancy (8.8±2.8 versus 7.5±2.7; P<0.05). Both patient groups reported more problems (P<0.01) than the norm with initiating and maintaining sleep. No specific risk factors were identified for a sleep disorder in CNS tumour patients, but their excessive somnolence was correlated with lower fatigue related quality of life (QoL) (r=-0.78, P<0.001) and worse psychosocial functioning (r=0.63, P<0.001). In conclusion, children treated for a CNS tumour have increased somnolence, significantly increasing fatigue and worsening daily functioning. Further investigation should focus on possibilities to improve sleep quality and diminish fatigue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Sleep Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Brain Neoplasms
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fatigue
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life
  • Sleep Wake Disorders
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Wakefulness
  • Journal Article


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