Disorders of gut–brain interaction (DGBIs) are common, and findings are mixed on rates of sleep problems (e.g., sleep quality) in pediatric populations. A clear understanding of sleep problems in pediatric DGBIs is needed as sleep challenges might negatively impact symptoms and prognoses. The aims of this systematic review are to (1) describe the prevalence and types of sleep problems in pediatric patients with DGBIs and examine differences by DGBI diagnosis and (2) examine the relationship among sleep problems and pain, mood, and functional outcomes in pediatric patients with DGBIs.
We searched PubMed, PsycInfo, CINAHL, and Medline in June 2022; articles were included if they enrolled ≤19 years old with a DGBI, used a quantitative assessment of sleep problems, and were available in English. The Effective Public Health Practice Project Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies was used to assess study quality. We used a protocol to systematically pull and tabulate data across articles with quality assessment ratings.
Twenty-four articles with 110,864 participants across 9 countries were included, with most studies being of moderate to weak quality. Patients with DGBIs reported more sleep problems than healthy peers, and some research reviewed found that patients with IBS had more sleep problems than other DGBI diagnoses. Sleep problems in DGBIs were related to worse mood, pain, and functional outcomes.
Pediatric patients with DGBIs are experiencing sleep problems that can impact outcomes. Screening for sleep problems and targeted treatment is needed to best support these patients.