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Somnologie (Berl). 2010 Mar;14(1):23-31.

Self-reported sleep patterns, sleep problems, and behavioral problems among school children aged 8-11 years.

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1
Department of Psychology, Division of Physiological Psychology, University of Salzburg, Salzburg.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Investigation of sleep patterns, sleep problems, and behavioral problems in 8- to 11-year-old children.

METHODS:

A total of 330 children (age: M=9.52; SD=0.56; range=8-11 years; 47.3% girls) in the 4th grade of elementary school in Salzburg (Austria) completed a self-report questionnaire (80 items) to survey sleep patterns, sleep problems, and behavioral problems.

RESULTS:

Children aged 8-11 years slept approximately 10 h and 13 min on school days (SD=47 min) as well as on weekends (SD=81 min); girls slept significantly longer on weekends than boys. Most common self-reported sleep problems were dryness of the mouth (26.6%), sleep onset delay (21.9%), bedtime resistance (20.3%), and restless legs (19.4%). There was a significant association between watching TV as well as playing computer games prior to sleep with frightful dreams. Daytime sleepiness indicated by difficulty waking up (33.4%) and having a hard time getting out of bed (28.5%) was also very prominent. However, children in Salzburg seemed to be less tired during school (6.6%) or when doing homework (4.8%) compared to other nationalities. Behavioral problems (e.g., emotional symptoms, hyperactivity and inattention, conduct problems, peer problems) and daytime sleepiness were both significantly associated with sleep problems: the more sleep problems reported, the worse behavioral problems and daytime sleepiness were. Moreover, we could show that sharing the bed with a pet was also related to sleep problems.

CONCLUSIONS:

Self-reported sleep problems among 8- to 11-year-old children are very common. There is a strong relationship between sleep disorders and behavioral problems. Routine screening and diagnosis as well as treatment of sleep disorders in school children should, therefore, be established in the future.

PMID:
23162377
PMCID:
PMC3498065
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