This study is led by multiple PIs Drs. David Janicke and Dr. Christina McCrae. Childhood obesity represents a major threat to public health. Sleep disturbance represents a significant comorbidity for overweight and obese (OV/OB) youth (ages 6-12) potentially contributing to a variety of negative consequences (lower quality of life, metabolic abnormalities) and further weight gain in this vulnerable population. Lack of sleep may contribute to increased weight status via reduced physical activity caused by fatigue; increased food intake caused by more opportunity to eat; cognitive, behavioral or mood impairments; and changes in metabolism that impact appetite or allow the body to conserve energy. Behavioral sleep disorders are more common in OV/OB youth than in general pediatric populations, with approximately 2 out of 3 OV/OB youth having significant problematic sleep behaviors.
Behavioral interventions to address behavioral sleep disorders in children are efficacious in improving sleep in very young children. Improving sleep in OV/OB youth may enhance weight outcomes as improved sleep can lead to changes in energy, mood, appetite, motivation, and cues to eat that can augment a behavioral weight management intervention. Unfortunately, no research to date has examined the efficacy of cognitive behavioral treatment for child sleep (CBTcs) to address behavioral sleep disorders (inadequate sleep hygiene, insufficient sleep syndrome, and insomnia) in school-aged youth, nor exclusively in OV/OB youth. Preliminary evidence from our team suggests CBTcs holds great promise to improve sleep outcomes in OV/OB youth. However, more methodologically rigorous evaluation that also includes preliminary evaluation of secondary outcomes that could impact long-term weight status outcomes is needed. We are conducting a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that evaluates the efficacy of a brief (8 session) CBTcs to improve sleep in an important high-risk population, OV/OB youth with behavioral sleep disorders. Child sleep (total wake time, total sleep time, bed/wake times), height, weight, physical activity, dietary intake, quality of life (QOL), fatigue, and daytime sleepiness will be assessed at baseline, post-treatment and three month follow-up.