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Acta Paediatr. 2007 Jul;96(7):1011-4. Epub 2007 May 24.

Trends in the duration of school-day sleep among 10- to 15-year-old South Australians between 1985 and 2004.

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Nutritional Physiology Research Centre, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.



To compare self-reported school-day sleep duration in 10- to 15-year-old South Australians between 1985 and 2004.


Data were collected from 10- to 15-year-old participants in the 1985 Australian Schools Health and Fitness Survey (n = 390) and the 2004 South Australian Physical Activity Survey (n = 510). Identical self-report questionnaires were administered in both surveys, providing data on school-day bed-time, wake-time and sleep duration; as well as age, gender and socioeconomic status (SES). Analysis of co-variance (ANCOVA), controlling for age and SES, was used to compare all sleep variables between surveys.


Declines in sleep duration were found for both girls (28 min) and boys (33 min) between surveys. The reduction was more pronounced in 'lower SES' boys (44 min) than 'higher SES' boys (23 min). Boys reported later bed-time than girls in the 2004 survey, while no gender differences were apparent in the 1985 survey.


Our findings suggest reductions in school-day sleep duration have occurred in Australian children and adolescents over the last 20 years, due largely to later bed-times. The physiological significance of these declines and mediating influences, such as SES, are yet to be explicated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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