Sleep characteristics in healthy children from birth to 6 years of age in the urban area of Rome

Sleep. 1996 Jan;19(1):1-3.


The current survey is an attempt to evaluate age-specific sleep characteristics and to identify the presence of sleep problems in Italian normally developing preschool-aged children. A cross-sectional survey by parental interview on sleep behavior was carried out on 2,889 children (from birth to 6 years). Groups were formed based on age level. Results showed a developmental trend of some sleep characteristics, regarding mainly the length of sleep and rating of night wakings. Comparison with other studies showed that the children in this study had a later sleep onset time and slept less than children of the same age living in some other countries. These dissimilarities may be due to sociocultural and climate differences. Sleep problems (sleep latency longer than 30 minutes or disruptive night wakings) were found in 35% of children less than 2 years old, in 23% of 2-3-year-olds and in 14% of 4-6-year-olds. Children with sleep problems slept significantly less (on average 30-40 minutes across all age levels, required parental presence at time of sleep onset and shared their parents' bed more frequently than those without sleeping problems.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sleep*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Wakefulness