According to a recent study, sleep duration in children can be increased after interventions that focus on earlier bedtimes, with important health benefits.
Individual health is significantly influenced by childhood experiences, with adequate sleep being crucial to well-being. This includes the right timing, quality, and duration of sleep and can impact mental well-being, growth, effective social interactions, cognitive processing, and metabolic health.
Trends have shown that children are not getting an adequate amount of sleep, which has been attributed to increased screen time, electronic media use, stimulant use, and unhealthy sleep behaviors such as poor bedtime routines. This has created a need for the development of an effective strategy to promote appropriate sleep patterns in children.
Recent reviews have focused on sleep in people with sleep problems or medical conditions. Studies with quantitative data are few and the data available are modest. To improve the available data, researchers sought to estimate the effectiveness of sleep-related interventions in healthy children.
Researchers used keywords and index terms to search for trials in 7 databases: CENTRAL, MEDLINE (Ovid), Embase (Ovid), PsycINFO (Ovid), Web of Science Core Collection, ClinicalTrials.gov, and World Health Organization Trial Databases. Individual and cluster-randomized clinical trials analyzing the impact of interventions on sleep at the classroom and school levels were collected and reviewed.
After excluding duplicates and certain datasets, 13,728 studies were included for screening. Of these, 411 underwent full-text screening. Over 13,000 participants were included in the studies, of which around 51% were in an intervention group and around 49% in a control group. The average age of the participants was between 18 months and 19 years.
Estimates of sleep duration were not found to differ significantly between age groups, and social deprivation and reported sleep problems did not affect the estimates. Pooled estimates changed frequently between regions, with North America and Asia showing the largest differences in sleep duration compared to regions like Australia.
Significant changes were observed after interventions focused on increasing sleep duration. Birth site, parental involvement, or birth medium did not cause changes in sleep duration. Studies that have focused on an earlier bedtime have shown a significant and substantial effect on sleep duration.
General sleep interventions increased sleep duration by an average of 10.5 minutes in children aged 1 to 18 years. The most significant interventions focused on an earlier bedtime, resulting in a mean increase in sleep duration of 47 minutes.
Based on these results, researchers concluded that specific intervention items, such as B. focusing on earlier bedtimes, should be further investigated to support adequate sleep in children.
Magee L, Goldsmith LP, Chaudhry UAR, Donin AS, Wahlich C, Stovold E, et al. Non-pharmacological interventions to increase sleep duration in healthy children: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatric. 2022. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2022.3172