Small child in pyjamas holding a pillow and yawning against a white background

The role of vitamin D in children with sleep apnoea

A summary of research published in ERJ Open Research

Evidence suggests that there is a link between a lack of vitamin D, known as vitamin-D deficiency, and waking at night. This study aimed to look specifically at how a lack of vitamin D affected children who had been diagnosed with sleep apnoea.

What did the study look at?

127 children with sleep apnoea from a children’s clinic in Italy were included in the study. Researchers looked at measurements including weight and body-mass-index (BMI), and vitamin D levels. BMI estimates if you are in a healthy weight range for your height. They compared their findings from this group to a group of healthy children of a similar age.

What do the results show?

The findings suggest a link between vitamin D levels and sleep apnoea. Results found:

  • Levels of vitamin D were lower in the group of children with sleep apnoea.
  • No difference was found in the BMI between the two groups.
  • There were slightly lower levels of vitamin D in children with severe sleep apnoea, compared to those with mild and moderate versions of the condition. Although the researchers stated that this was not a big enough difference to be more than by chance.
Why is this important?

The findings of this study suggest that vitamin D has a role to play in sleep apnoea. The authors note that other factors such as time spent outdoors and what seasons the data was recorded in, were not considered as part of this study. The group of children was quite small. The findings help to shed light on this complex issue where evidence is lacking. More research is needed to see if these results are confirmed through larger studies.

Read the original research paper: Relationships between 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Severity in Children: An Observational Study