Parents' reports of disturbed sleep in 5-7-year-old Swedish children

Acta Paediatr. 1999 Aug;88(8):858-65. doi: 10.1080/08035259950168793.


Parents' reports on 1844 five to seven year olds from the general population were used to provide a detailed update about prevalence and correlates of sleep disturbances in children. Five different sleep disturbances were focused on: difficulty falling asleep, reported in 5.6% of the children; night waking in 15.5%; snoring in 7.7%; nightmares in 3.1%, and bedwetting in 5.3% of the children. Coexisting sleep disturbances were frequent in children with difficulties falling asleep, night waking and nightmares, but bedwetting usually emerged as a singular sleep disturbance. Nightmares were associated with serious health problems or handicaps, sleep problems in conjunction with life events, and female gender. Snoring as well as bedwetting were associated with reports of "very active" children. In 6.7% of the total sample, parents had previously consulted the healthcare services for a sleep problem in their child. These children had reports of colic during infancy, eczema, serious health problems or handicaps, current snoring and current nightmares. Only 1.1% (n = 21) of the children were said to have a present need to remedy sleep problems. The reports on these children included coexisting sleep disturbances, previous consultations for sleeping problems, parents' perceptions of "very active" children, diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and major life events which had triggered sleep problems. In conclusion, although sleep disturbances are common in 5-7-y-old children, parents seldom express a need to remedy sleep problems in their children of this age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dreams
  • Enuresis / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / epidemiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / classification
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy
  • Snoring / epidemiology
  • Somnambulism / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology