Adequate sleep is essential for children's health, growth, and ability to learn. Parents of children aged 6-17 were asked on how many nights in the past week their children got enough sleep for a child of their age. Children with special health care needs were less likely than other children to get enough sleep (as defined by the parent) every day in the past week. Of CSHCN, 41.1 percent did not get enough sleep every day in the past week, compared to 34.1 percent of children without special health care needs. This difference remained present even after statistical adjustment for other differences between CSHCN and non-CSHCN.
Percentages of children getting inadequate sleep have increased since 2003, when 35.6 percent of CSHCN and 30.1 percent of non-CSHCN did not get adequate sleep every night. In 2007, the proportion of CSHCN who did not get enough sleep every night ranged across states from 31.9 percent to 56.6 percent.
Among children with and without special health care needs, those in the highest-income households were the least likely to get adequate sleep every night. Among CSHCN, 46.6 percent of those with household incomes of 400 percent or more of the Federal poverty level (FPL) did not consistently get adequate sleep, compared to 37.9 percent of CSHCN with household incomes below the FPL.
CSHCN with certain emotional and behavioral conditions seem to be at particular risk of not getting enough sleep. Among CSHCN with any emotional, behavioral, or developmental conditions, 44.5 percent do not get adequate sleep every night, compared to 38.2 percent of CSHCN without these conditions (data not shown). More than half of CSHCN with anxiety disorders (53.1 percent), depression (52.3 percent), and Tourette Syndrome (63.8 percent) do not get enough sleep every night, significantly more than CSHCN without these conditions (39.4 percent, 39.9 percent, and 41.0 percent, respectively).