Sleep duration, insomnia, and stuttering: The relationship in adolescents and young adults


Jacobs, Molly M.; Merlo, Sandra; & Briley, Patrick M. (2021). Sleep duration, insomnia, and stuttering: The relationship in adolescents and young adults. Journal of Communication Disorders. vol. 91


Purpose Evidence of a linkage between neurodevelopmental stuttering and sleep difficulties has been suggested in studies involving children and adolescents. To further examine the relationship between stuttering and sleep, the current study explored both hours of sleep and insomnia in a longitudinal sample of adolescents and young adults living with stuttering. Method The data for this study came from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), a nationally representative survey study following 13,564 US respondents over the course of 20 years. In each of the five survey waves, respondents noted their average hours of sleep. In addition, Wave IV, respondents indicated whether they suffered from insomnia (i.e., difficulty falling or staying asleep). Respondents who indicated stuttering at ages 18–26 (Wave III) and 24–32 (Wave IV) are considered as those with persistent stuttering—the focus of this analysis. Regression analysis assessed the association between stuttering, hours of sleep and insomnia controlling for sex, age, race, education and other demographic characteristics. Results The sample included 261 participants (1.7% of total respondents) who identified themselves as people who stutter, comprised of 169 males and 92 females. Compared to their fluent counterparts, individuals who stutter reported to sleep, on average, 20 min less per night. Additionally, 15% of those who stutter reported difficulties falling or staying asleep almost every day or every day, which is twice as likely as controls. Results were robust to demographic characteristics and co-occurring conditions. Conclusions Speech-language pathologists should be aware of the association between stuttering and insomnia, as well as the lower average hours of sleep among adolescents and young adults who stutter. The possibility that lower sleep duration and insomnia may affect stuttering daily variability and impair improvement from stuttering are discussed.




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Journal Article

Journal Title

Journal of Communication Disorders


Jacobs, Molly M.
Merlo, Sandra
Briley, Patrick M.

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