To examine sleep health knowledge and beliefs and their relationship to sleep practices in a community sample of caregivers of young children.
A convenience sample of caregivers visiting a museum on one of 2 consecutive weekend days completed a brief parent-report survey on child sleep habits and parental basic sleep knowledge and beliefs and attitudes regarding sleep as a health behavior.
Of the 253 analyzable surveys (response rate 80%; mean age of index child 3.4 ± 2.0 years), 23% of children did not have a consistent bedtime, 25% had a bedtime later than 9 pm, 23% had at least one electronic device in the bedroom, and 56% frequently fell asleep with an adult present. Both positive and negative sleep habits tended to cluster together. Children who had irregular and late bedtimes were more than twice as likely to obtain insufficient sleep that those with regular and early bedtimes (OR 2.30, 2.45). While 25% of children were getting less than the recommended sleep amount for age, just 13% of parents believed that their child was getting insufficient sleep. Lack of knowledge regarding the potential negative impact of specific sleep practices was associated with an increased likelihood of engaging in those practices.
The results of this survey study of a generally well-educated sample of caregivers suggest that there are clear parental knowledge gaps regarding healthy sleep in young children and supports the need for increased sleep health education.
Owens JA; Jones C; Nash R. Caregivers' knowledge, behavior, and attitudes regarding healthy sleep in young children. J Clin Sleep Med 2011;7(4):345-350.