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Objectives: Short sleep duration as a risk factor for higher blood pressure has been reported by several studies on adults. This study aimed to investigate this association in children, considering age-specific effects and distributional aspects.

Methods: Using data from the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS, 2003-2006), information on daily sleeping hours and blood pressure measurements was available for 7701 children between 3 and 10 years of age.

Results: Using an age-independent measure for sleep duration, linear regression revealed a -0.80 mmHg (95% confidence interval -1.39; -0.22) mean arterial pressure difference between the children with the longest vs. shortest sleep duration. This effect was independent of age and was no longer significant when adjusted for BMI z-score and reported physical activity. Effect estimates obtained from quantile regression confirmed lack of significant associations over the entire blood pressure distribution.

Conclusion: Sleep duration showed no or only marginal association with blood pressure in this large sample of children between 3 and 10 years of age. Further analysis indicated no age dependency or certain groups (e.g. prehypertensive children), in which sleep duration showed a greater effect on blood pressure.

(C) 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.