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Sleep Med. 2013 Jan;14(1):45-52. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2012.09.022. Epub 2012 Dec 4.

Sleep patterns and sleep disturbances among Chinese school-aged children: prevalence and associated factors.

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  • 1School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China. wang-guanghai@163.com



The study aimed to (1) characterize sleep patterns and sleep disturbances among Chinese school-aged children, (2) determine the prevalence of their short sleep duration and sleep disturbances based on clinical cutoffs, and (3) examine possible factors (socio-demographic factors and emotional/behavioral problems) that are associated with sleep disturbances.


A large representative sample of 912 children aged 6-14years was recruited from Shenzhen, China. Their parents completed the Children's Sleep Habits Questionnaire (CSHQ) and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ).


The mean bedtime was 9:45pm (SD=1h 11min), mean wake-up time was 7:03am (SD=31min), mean sleep duration was 9h 14min (SD=46min), and 23.8% of the children had sleep duration <9h. Overall, 69.3% of the children suffered from global sleep disturbances (CSHQ total score >41). Bedtime resistance (22.9%), sleep anxiety (22.1%), sleep duration (21%) and daytime sleepiness (20%) were the most prevalent sleep disturbances; followed by sleep disordered breathing (12.1%), parasomnias (9.4%), sleep onset delay (6.9%), and night waking (5.2%). The prevalence of specific sleep disturbances ranged from 3.2% (falling asleep while watching television) to 81.9% (awakening by others in the morning). Correlations between most domains of sleep disturbances and emotional/behavioral problems were statistically significant (p<0.05 or p<0.01). Hierarchical multiple regression analysis revealed that gender (β=0.10, p<0.01), school grade (β=-0.09, p<0.05), co-sleeping (β=0.25, p<0.01), emotional symptoms (β=0.24, p<0.01), conduct problems (β=0.09, p<0.05), and hyperactivity (β=0.17, p<0.01) accounted for significant variance in CSHQ total score.


Short sleep duration and sleep disturbances are prevalent among Chinese school-aged children. Sleep disturbances are associated with gender, school grade, co-sleeping, emotional symptoms, conduct problems, and hyperactivity.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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