Understanding the Role of Sleep in the Emergence of Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Temitayo Oyegbile-Chidi, MD, PhD


The pediatric neurologist at the University of California, Davis, provided perspective on some of the mechanistic links between sleep and neurodevelopmental disorders. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

"We know that in general, up to 20% of children have sleep problems, typically in developing children, and this is a separate thing that we can address. But we're finding that children with neurodevelopmental disorders, they're much more likely to have sleep problems up to 86%. It's almost 4 times as high and we know this is a huge issue."

Sleep is the primary activity of young children. By the time a child is 2 years old, they will have spent approximately 9500 hours—consecutively 13 months—sleeping. During this stage, sleep can plan a major role in a child’s development, including cognition and physical growth, and has been associated with overall cognitive development, as well as specific cognitive functions such as memory, language, and executive function. While sleep disturbances are common in typically developing pediatric populations, they are more frequent in those with a neurodevelopmental disorder.

It has been proposed that sleep issues are secondary to multiple factors that directly and indirectly negatively impact sleep and circadian processes in those with neurodevelopmental disorders, which in turn, further perturbs development, resulting in a “developmental and sleep/circadian-related encephalopathy.” Certain genetic and/or environmental factors causative of the neurodevelopmental condition may also directly impact circadian processes and sleep.

At the 2024 SLEEP Annual Meeting, held June 1-5, in Houston, Texas, Temitayo Oyegbile-Chidi, MD, PhD, a pediatric neurologist at the University of California, Davis, gave a talk on the correlations between sleep and neurodevelopmental disorders. Oyegbile-Chidi, an expert in the field, has a special research interest in cognitive and behavioral problems in those with neurodevelopmental issues, specifically focusing on how neurodevelopmental disorders associated with epilepsy are affected by sleep. During the meeting, she sat down with NeurologyLive® to discuss her presentation, in addition to what may drive some of the neurodevelopmental disorders seen in clinic. She spoke on some specific cases of these disorders, the potential genetic influence involved, and why clinicians should approach these patients with a multifactorial lens, as opposed to using one specific approach.

Click here for more coverage of SLEEP 2024.

1. Tamir S, Dye TJ, Witt RM. Sleep and circadian disturbances in children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Seminars in Ped Neurol. 2023;48:101090. doi:10.1016/j.spen.2023.101090
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