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. 2010 Mar;11(3):274-80.
doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2009.04.012. Epub 2010 Feb 6.

Cross-cultural Differences in Infant and Toddler Sleep

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Cross-cultural Differences in Infant and Toddler Sleep

Jodi A Mindell et al. Sleep Med. .

Abstract

Background: To characterize cross-cultural sleep patterns and sleep problems in a large sample of children ages birth to 36 months in multiple predominantly-Asian (P-A) and predominantly-Caucasian (P-C) countries.

Methods: Parents of 29,287 infants and toddlers (predominantly-Asian countries/regions: China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam; predominantly-Caucasian countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States) completed an internet-based expanded version of the Brief Infant Sleep Questionnaire.

Results: Overall, children from P-A countries had significantly later bedtimes, shorter total sleep times, increased parental perception of sleep problems, and were more likely to both bed-share and room-share than children from P-C countries, p<.001. Bedtimes ranged from 19:27 (New Zealand) to 22:17 (Hong Kong) and total sleep time from 11.6 (Japan) to 13.3 (New Zealand) hours, p<.0001. There were limited differences in daytime sleep. Bed-sharing with parents ranged from 5.8% in New Zealand to 83.2% in Vietnam. There was also a wide range in the percentage of parents who perceived that their child had a sleep problem (11% in Thailand to 76% in China).

Conclusions: Overall, children from predominantly-Asian countries had significantly later bedtimes, shorter total sleep times, increased parental perception of sleep problems, and were more likely to room-share than children from predominantly-Caucasian countries/regions. These results indicate substantial differences in sleep patterns in young children across culturally diverse countries/regions. Further studies are needed to understand the basis for and impact of these interesting differences.

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