Poor sleep in children with cystic fibrosis is associated with depression and lower QOL

Lead researcher

Dr Moya Vandeleur

Main finding

This study aimed to investigate the relationship between sleep quality and mood and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in a group of stable children and adolescents 7-18 years with cystic fibrosis (CF) compared to healthy control children.
We found that children (7-12 years) with CF had poorer sleep quality, more sleepiness and lower mood than healthy control children. Additionally, we found that a marker of sleep quality; “sleep efficiency” was worse in those with higher depression scores and that elevated sleepiness was related to lower mood and worse HRQOL. Adolescents with CF also had poorer sleep and more sleepiness than healthy control adolescents, but no significant difference in depression scores. In this age group, reduced sleep quality and daytime sleepiness appeared to impact negatively on multiple aspects of HRQOL including emotional, physical and social well-being.


The Ritchie Centre

Research group



Prof. Rosemary Horne
A/Prof. Gillian Nixon
A/Prof Phil Robinson
A/Prof David Armstrong
Dr Lisa Walter

Journal and article title

Most surprising

In previously published work, we have shown that children and adolescents with CF have more sleep problems than their healthy peers. Our current study provides novel insights into the relationship between sleep disturbance and 2 important health outcomes in this population; mood and HRQOL. Whilst studies in adults with CF have reported similar findings, there was a paucity of paediatric literature. In our group of clinically stable children and adolescents with CF impaired sleep quality and excessive daytime sleepiness were related to lower mood and HRQOL, however we were surprised to find that the relationship differed between the age groups. It may be that we didn’t find a relationship between sleep quality and mood in the adolescents because our study population was too small.

Future implications

Cystic Fibrosis is the most common inherited chronic disease affecting Australian children. Our research has shown that sleep problems are highly prevalent in children and adolescents with CF and associated with lowered mood and poorer HRQOL. It is important to understand the impact that sleep problems have on health and well-being in this group, as many will be treatable, however screening for sleep problems is currently not a standard of care. Future studies need to focus on examining sleep quality in children with CF over time to further understand the broad health effects of sleep disturbance. Future research also needs to assess whether optimising sleep in children and adolescents with CF can improve health outcomes including mood and HRQOL.

Disease/health impact

cystic fibrosis