Study objective: Sleep disturbance is reported to be more prevalent in children and adolescents with asthma than those without. However, this has not been described adequately using objective measures. The aim of this study was to objectively characterise sleep disturbance in asthmatic and non-asthmatic children and adolescents. Methods: A retrospective analysis of polysomnography recordings from children aged 5–17 years old, with (n = 113) and without asthma (n = 104), referred for a sleep study over the period 2005–2010 at the Paediatric Sleep Unit, John Hunter Children’s Hospital in Newcastle, NSW Australia, was carried out. Results: Polysomnographic recordings were analysed to compare sleep quality and quantity between asthmatic and non-asthmatic children. Sleep latency was significantly longer in asthmatic children compared to controls. However, this result was significant for females only (46.2 (5.6) vs 33.2 (2.7) min, p < 0.05). Male asthmatics had significantly shorter sleep duration (425.9 (5.4) vs 441.8 (5.4) min, p < 0.05) than male controls. Conclusions: Sleep disturbance exists in children with asthma and manifests differently in males and females. Further investigation into the clinical implication of increased sleep latency and reduced sleep duration upon daytime functioning and lifestyle behaviours in children and adolescents with asthma is warranted.