Approximately 285,000 of America's children have been diagnosed with arthritis, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) is the most prevalent form. Children with JRA, regardless of disease severity, report poor sleep quality, excessive daytime sleepiness, anxiety, and altered mood. Adequate sleep is essential for health and normal growth and development in children. Insufficient sleep in healthy children has been associated with hyperactivity, decreased attention span, distractibility, impulsivity, excessive daytime sleepiness, poor neurobehavioral performance, decrements in school performance, and increased school absenteeism. Disturbed sleep in children with JRA is likely to have similar negative impact on the child's behavior, mood, school performance, ability to carry out daily physical and social activities, as well as disease symptom (pain, stiffness, fatigue) severity. Sleep quality may be an important predictor of symptom severity, school performance, and how well children with JRA adjust to living with this chronic illness. In our preliminary studies, we have begun to document the extent of disturbed sleep by self-report and behavioral and physiological indicators in a small sample of children with JRA. These data show for the first time that sleep is most disrupted during periods when inflammation and joint swelling are most acute, yet children complain of poor sleep quality and excessive daytime sleepiness even during periods of disease remission. The extent of disrupted sleep and its impact on daytime functioning has not been studied in children with JRA. The proposed study builds on our pilot studies findings and is unique in that it will use a within-subject, repeated-measures design to determine the extent of poor nighttime sleep and evaluate the impact of poor sleep on daytime sleepiness, neurobehavioral performance, academic performance, and emotional/affective indicators during both periods of arthritic flare and disease remission. The results of this study will provide key information about sleep quality and daytime functioning in children with JRA; thus setting directions for the development of clinical therapies to enhance sleep quality during periods of arthritic flare as well as disease remission as different treatment strategies likely will be required. ? ?
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