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Arch Dis Child doi:10.1136/adc.2009.157453

Falling asleep: the determinants of sleep latency.

  1. Gillian M Nixon (gillian.nixon{at}southernhealth.org.au)
  1. Monash Institute of Medical Research, Australia
    1. John M D Thompson (j.thompson{at}auckland.ac.nz)
    1. University of Auckland, New Zealand
      1. Dug Yeo Han (dy.han{at}auckland.ac.nz)
      1. University of Auckland, New Zealand
        1. David MO Becroft (david.genevieve.becroft{at}xtra.co.nz)
        1. University of Auckland, New Zealand
          1. Phillipa M Clark (p.clark{at}auckland.ac.nz)
          1. University of Auckland, New Zealand
            1. Elizabeth Robinson (e.robinson{at}auckland.ac.nz)
            1. University of Auckland, New Zealand
              1. Karen E Waldie (k.waldie{at}auckland.ac.nz)
              1. University of Auckland, New Zealand
                1. Chris J Wild (c.wild{at}auckland.ac.nz)
                1. University of Auckland, New Zealand
                  1. Peter N Black (pn.black{at}auckland.ac.nz)
                  1. University of Auckland, New Zealand
                    1. Edwin A Mitchell (e.mitchell{at}auckland.ac.nz)
                    1. University of Auckland, New Zealand
                      • Published Online First 24 July 2009

                      Abstract

                      Background: Difficulty falling asleep (prolonged sleep latency) is a frequently reported problem in school-aged children.

                      Aims: This study aimed to describe the distribution of sleep latency and factors that influence its duration. Methods: 871 children of European mothers were recruited at birth. 591 (67.9%) children took part in follow-up at 7 years of age. Sleep and daytime activity were measured objectively by actigraphy worn for 24 hours.

                      Results: Complete sleep data were available for 519 children (87.8%) with a mean age of 7.3 years (SD 0.2). Median sleep latency was 26 minutes (interquartile range 13-42 min). Higher mean daytime activity counts were associated with a decrease in sleep latency (-1.2 minutes per 102 movement count per minute, p=0.05). Time spent in sedentary activity was associated with an increase in sleep latency (3.1 minutes per hour of sedentary activity, p=0.01).

                      Conclusions: These findings emphasize the importance of physical activity for children, not only for fitness, cardiovascular health and weight control, but also for promoting good sleep.

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