Background Sleep efficiency is strongly related to academic performance and behavioural regulation across the lifespan (e.g., Fredriksen et al., 2004; Gruber et al., 2014). Lack of regular bedtimes has been associated with poorer cognitive abilities, including reading (Kelly et al., 2012). However, the relationship between sleep and wellbeing, and the scale of sleep problems in childhood is poorly understood.
Methods Data from a representative UK survey (n=1,100) of parents with children aged 6–11 years old asked 60 questions (based upon well validated scales) including the Child Sleep Habit’s Questionnaire (CSHQ) and Pediatric quality of life (QOL; measured by PedsQL) and family routines. Data were analysed using ANOVA, correlations and hierarchical linear regression.
Results The NHS recommends ∼ 10 hours sleep in children of this age. Thirty-six percent of children achieved < eight and 15.2% < seven hours – levels likely to impair daytime functioning, and development. Worryingly, sleep problems of clinical significance (CSHQ) were prevalent (over 90%), Statistically significant relationships between poor sleep and lower QoL were found (r=0.567, p=0.001). Shorter sleep duration was associated with a range of problems at school, eg. difficulties in paying attention in class, forgetting things, keeping up with school work and missing school because of illness (all p <0.001).
Conclusions and implications Sleep problems in UK primary school children are widespread, often at levels likely to affect daytime functioning and wellbeing, borne out by the association between poor sleep and poor QoL. Further research is needed including objective sleep measures, and longitudinal evidence in order for causal relationships to be elucidated. However, it is clear that future research and policy initiatives to encourage families to prioritise sleep in the family routine has the potential to improve not only cognitive and academic outcomes but also child health and wellbeing.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.