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Sleep Med. 2013 Dec;14(12):1304-9. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2013.06.014. Epub 2013 Sep 2.

Gender, socioeconomic, and ethnic differences in sleep patterns in school-aged children.

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The Ritchie Centre, Monash Institute of Medical Research, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia; Childrens Research Centre, Discipline of Paediatrics, University of Adelaide, King William Road, Adelaide 5000, Australia. Electronic address:



Age-related changes in sleep behavior are well described in children, yet the effect of gender, socioeconomic status (SES), and ethnicity is less clear. These factors are important when developing culturally and socially appropriate guidelines for healthy sleep. The objective of our study was to examine the effects of age, gender, SES, and ethnicity on sleep patterns in school-aged children.


A cross-sectional survey was conducted through primary schools in Adelaide, South Australia. Parents reported demographic information and sleep patterns for school and non-school days for 1845 children aged 5 to 10years.


48% of the cohort were boys (mean age, 7.7±1.7y), 85% were Caucasian, and there was an equal distribution across defined SES bands. Sleep duration reduced with age and was shorter on non-school than school nights as a result of later bedtimes. Boys, children from low SES areas, and non-Caucasian children reported shorter sleep times than girls, children from high SES areas, and Caucasian children, respectively. Non-Caucasian children from low SES areas reported the shortest sleep opportunity.


The results from our study suggest that in addition to biological mechanisms, sleep behaviors are culturally and socially driven and should be considered when developing recommendations for healthy sleep in children.


Age; Children; Culture; Gender; Sleep; Socioeconomic status

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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