Little evidence is available regarding the relationship between zinc and sleep in school children. The present study aimed to examine the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between blood zinc concentrations and sleep quality throughout childhood. A total of 1295 children from the Jintan Child Cohort in China were included in this study. Venous blood sample of zinc and subjective sleep data were collected when the children were at preschool age (3–5 years old) and early adolescence (11–15 years old). Odds ratios (ORs) reflect the odds of the sleep quality/subdomain being at a greater impairment level associated with 1 unit increase in log zinc concentration. Cross-sectional analyses showed negative correlation of blood zinc concentrations with insufficient sleep duration (OR = 0.432, p
= 0.002), sleep disturbances (OR = 0.454, p
= 0.009) and poor sleep quality (OR = 0.559, p
= 0.049) in adolescence, but no association at preschool age (p
> 0.05). Longitudinal analyses indicated that blood zinc concentrations at preschool age predict poor sleep efficiency (OR = 0.186, p
= 0.000) and poor sleep quality (OR = 0.358, p
= 0.020) in adolescence. Our findings suggest that sufficient zinc concentration is associated with good sleep quality, dependent on the developmental stage in childhood. Future interventional research is warranted to examine the short and long-term effect of zinc status on sleep heath.
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