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Arch Dis Child. 1998 January; 78(1): 20–25.
PMCID: PMC1717423

Disturbed sleep: effects of sociocultural factors and illness


To assess the prevalence of sleep disturbance and associated risk factors, sleep patterns were analysed in 14 372 English and Scottish children. Approximately 4% of children aged 5 experienced disturbed sleep more than once a week, but this decreased to 1% from age 9. Less than 25% of the parents with an affected child consulted a doctor. Sleep disturbance was associated with persistent wheezing compared to non-wheezing children (odds ratio 4.42; 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.17 to 6.13), and more frequent in children of Indian subcontinent descent than in white children (odds ratio 2.20; 95% CI 1.34 to 3.60), and in children whose mother reached no more than primary education compared with those with higher education (odds ratio 2.41; 95% CI 1.51 to 3.84). Sociocultural factors associated with ethnicity and respiratory illness are important risk factors for sleeping disorders in childhood.

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