Bed sharing, sleep habits, and sleep problems among Chinese school-aged children

Xianchen Liu, Lianqi Liu, Ruzhan Wang
Sleep 2003 November 1, 26 (7): 839-44

STUDY OBJECTIVES: This study examined the association between bed sharing, sleep habits, and sleep problems among Chinese school-aged children.

DESIGN AND SETTING: A questionnaire survey of school-aged children was undertaken in Jinan city, People's Republic of China, in 2001.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 517 elementary-school children (mean age, 10.5 years; 47.4% boys) participated in the survey.

MEASUREMENTS: The parents completed the Chinese version of the Children's Sleep Habits Questionnaire and a number of questions that asked about bed sharing and characteristics of the family and child.

RESULTS: The prevalence of regular bed sharing in Chinese school-aged children was as high as 18.2%. The rate of bed sharing did not differ between boys and girls but significantly decreased with age from 55.8% in 7-year-olds to 7.2% in 11- to 13-year-olds. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that younger age, poor physical health of the child, and crowded housing were associated with an increased likelihood for the child's bed sharing with parents. Bedtime and total sleep duration did not significantly differ between children who shared beds and those who slept alone. Children who shared beds with their parents were reported to have more sleep anxiety and daytime sleepiness than children who slept alone. Bed sharing was not associated with parasomnias and breathing problems during sleep.

CONCLUSIONS: Regular bed sharing in Chinese school-aged children was very common and significantly decreased with age. Crowded housing and poor physical health of the child increased the likelihood for children and parents to share beds. Bed sharing may exert influences on sleep quality rather than sleep quantity.

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