Indexed on: 22 May '20Published on: 21 May '20Published in: Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP
Although parents recognize the importance of sleep, most have a limited understanding of children's sleep needs. This study examined whether parental expectations about sleep were linked to children and adolescent's sleep duration and sleep hygiene. Participants included 376 unique parent-child dyads. Parents (mean age = 47.0 years, SD = 6.7) estimated the number of hours of sleep their children (mean age = 13.0 years, SD = 2.2; 9-17 years) needed. These estimates were age-matched with recommended pediatric guidelines of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the National Sleep Foundation to yield 3 groups: expect less (8%-11%), expect appropriate (85%-89%), and expect more (3%-4%). Sleep duration for school nights and weekends were reported by children and parents. Sleep hygiene included sleep-promoting practices (quiet, dark bedroom, regular bed/wake times, consistent routine) and sleep-interfering practices (physiological arousal, presleep worry, alcohol/smoking intake, daytime napping, screen time). Most parents (68.7%) endorsed that children do not get enough sleep. Linear and logistic regressions were used to assess the impact of parental expectations. For every additional hour of sleep expected, children slept between 15.5 (parent-report 95% confidence interval [CI], 9.0-22.0) and 17.9 minutes (child-report 95% CI, 9.7-26.2) longer on school nights, adjusted for age, sex, puberty, and parental education. For parents who expected less sleep than recommended, their children had the shortest sleep duration, least favorable sleeping environments, and greater presleep worry. Parental sleep expectations were directly linked to children's sleep duration. Pediatricians and primary care providers can mobilize knowledge to optimally convey accurate information about developmental sleep needs and recommended hours to parents to promote longer sleep.