Sleep health in Indigenous Australian children: a systematic review.


Blunden S(1), Fatima Y(2), Yiallourou S(3).
Author information:
(1)Appleton Institute of Behavioural Science, Central Queensland University, 44 Greenhill Rd, Wayville, Adelaide, South Australia, 5034, Australia. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia; Centre for Rural and Remote Health, James Cook University, Mount Isa, Australia. Electronic address: [Email]
(3)Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, 75 Commercial Road, Melbourne, Vic, 3004, Australia. Electronic address: [Email]


OBJECTIVE/BACKGROUND: The health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australian children has long been an issue of concern. However, to date there is a lack of attention to sleep health (particularly education and appropriate health service availability) in Indigenous Australians. The present review aimed to evaluate the prevalence of sleep problems in Indigenous Australians children. METHOD: Up to August 2020, a systematic search using the keywords: "sleep problems"; "sleep disturbances"; "sleep quality"," "sleep disorder"; "sleep apnoea"; "obstructive sleep apnoea"; "OSA"; and "sleep-disordered breathing" AND "Indigenous Australians"; "Aboriginal"; "Torres Strait Islander"; was conducted on PubMed; Informit Indigenous Collection Scopus and CINAHL; " tool" from the Lowitja Institute; Indigenous HealthInfoNet, Google Scholar (advanced), government agencies and relevant grey literature. RESULTS: The search found only 13 studies focusing on sleep issues in Indigenous Australian children (birth to 17 years) with a pool of up to 4664 participants with 11 community-based studies (using mostly parental or self-report) and two in clinical populations (sleep laboratory). Three studies were longitudinal, all others were cross-sectional. Insomnia symptoms varied from 15% to 34.7%. Indigenous children reported severe daytime sleepiness (20%), short sleep (10.9%) late sleepers (50%). Snoring was reported in 14.2% with children in the community while up to 51% were objectively diagnosed to have OSA in a clinical setting. CONCLUSION: The availability of only 13 studies investigating paediatric Indigenous sleep highlights the paucity of data in this area. Compared with non-indigenous people, Indigenous children are significantly more likely to experience short sleep duration and a high proportion reported symptoms of sleep disordered breathing. Working and conferring with Indigenous communities is an opportunity to engage in partnerships to improve sleep health and subsequently general health.