Similarities and differences in sleep-wake patterns among adults and their children

Susan Shur-Fen Gau, Kathleen R Merikangas
Sleep 2004 March 15, 27 (2): 299-304

STUDY OBJECTIVE: To determine associations and differences in sleep-wake patterns among children and their parents and to explore the correlates for sleep-wake patterns among adults.

DESIGN: A school-based cross-sectional survey.

PARTICIPANTS: Sample included 1479 fourth to eighth graders and their parents, using a multistage sampling method.


MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: Students and their parents completed a Sleep Habit Questionnaire, which included sleep schedules, a mood scale, and the morningness/eveningness scale. Statistical methods included Pearson and Spearman correlations and analysis of variance using a mixed model. Results showed low correlations in sleep schedules and sleep-wake patterns between children and those parents who did not work shifts or have an evening or night job. Compared to their children, parents tended to go to bed and rise later, have shorter nighttime sleep duration, have less weekend compensation of sleep, and have the morning-type sleep profile. In addition, junior-high students (seventh and eight graders) demonstrated different sleep-wake patterns compared to elementary-school students (fourth to sixth graders). Young age, moodiness, and shift work were associated with tendencies to be the evening type among parent participants.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that age, social demands (school work for children and adolescents and employment type for adults), and mood status are associated with sleep-wake patterns. Future study examining the association between evening-sleep type and neurotic traits and psychopathology in the adult population will be our next step.

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