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Importance: Little is known regarding the effect of poor sleep on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in healthy children.

Objective: To determine the effect of induced mild sleep deprivation on HRQOL in children without major sleep issues.

Design, Setting, and Participants: This prespecified secondary analysis focused on HRQOL, a secondary outcome of the Daily Rest, Eating, and Activity Monitoring (DREAM) randomized crossover trial of children who underwent alternating weeks of sleep restriction and sleep extension and a 1-week washout in between. The DREAM trial intervention was administered at participants' homes between October 2018 and March 2020. Participants were 100 children aged 8 to 12 years who lived in Dunedin, New Zealand; had no underlying medical conditions; and had parent- or guardian-reported normal sleep (8-11 hours/night). Data were analyzed between July 4 and September 1, 2022.

Interventions: Bedtimes were manipulated to be 1 hour later (sleep restriction) and 1 hour earlier (sleep extension) than usual for 1 week each. Wake times were unchanged.

Main Outcomes and Measures: All outcome measures were assessed during both intervention weeks. Sleep timing and duration were assessed using 7-night actigraphy. Children and parents rated the child's sleep disturbances (night) and impairment (day) using the 8-item Pediatric Sleep Disturbance and 8-item Sleep-Related Impairment scales of the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System questionnaire. Child-reported HRQOL was assessed using the 27-item KIDSCREEN questionnaire with 5 subscale scores and a total score. Both questionnaires assessed the past 7 days at the end of each intervention week. Data were presented as mean differences and 95% CIs between the sleep restriction and extension weeks and were analyzed using intention to treat and an a priori difference in sleep of at least 30 minutes per night.

Results: The final sample comprised 100 children (52 girls [52%]; mean [SD] age, 10.3 [1.4] years). During the sleep restriction week, children went to sleep 64 (95% CI, 58-70) minutes later, and sleep offset (wake time) was 18 (95% CI, 13-24) minutes later, meaning that children received 39 (95% CI, 32-46) minutes less of total sleep per night compared with the sleep extension week in which the total sleep time was 71 (95% CI, 64-78) minutes less in the per-protocol sample analysis. Both parents and children reported significantly less sleep disturbance at night but greater sleep impairment during the day with sleep restriction. Significant standardized reductions in physical well-being (standardized mean difference [SMD], -0.28; 95% CI, -0.49 to -0.08), coping in a school environment (SMD, -0.26; 95% CI, -0.42 to -0.09), and total HRQOL score (SMD, -0.21; 95% CI, -0.34 to -0.08) were reported by children during sleep restriction, with an additional reduction in social and peer support (SMD, -0.24; 95% CI, -0.47 to -0.01) in the per-protocol sample analysis.

Conclusions and Relevance: Results of this secondary analysis of the DREAM trial indicated that even 39 minutes less of sleep per night for 1 week significantly reduced several facets of HRQOL in children. This finding shows that ensuring children receive sufficient good-quality sleep is an important child health issue.

Trial Registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12618001671257

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