Parental sleeping problems were associated with increased reports of sleep problems in their children, although objective measures did not reveal more sleep problems in children of parents with poor sleep quality.
Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)
Study Rundown: Many diagnoses in pediatrics rely heavily on parental report. For example, using objective reporting methods to diagnose sleep disturbances is inefficient, therefore pediatricians rely on parental reports. As such, it is important to consider what effect, if any, parental sleep disturbance has on their reports of children’s sleep quality. Parents were surveyed on their sleep quality, and were asked to report on their children’s sleep quality as well. Children’s sleep patterns were objectively measured via wearable actigraphy. Overall, higher levels of parental sleep disturbances were associated with increased frequency of reporting sleeping problems in their children. When adjusted for objective actigraphy recordings, this association remained significant. Therefore, when using parental reports to assess their patient’s sleep disturbances, pediatricians may also consider the sleep quality of the reporting parent. While this study is the first to consider the objectivity of parental reports in the context of their own sleep problems, it is limited by the homogeneity of the study population.
In-Depth [prospective cohort]: This study included 100 Finnish children (50% male), ages 2 to 6 years, whose sleep activity was measured using a wearable actigraph. Parents were required to press the actigraph button to signal when their child was going to sleep. Parental sleep quality was evaluated with the validated Jenkin’s sleep scale, and mental health was measured using the General Health Questionnaire. Parent-reported sleep quality of their children was measured using the Sleep Disturbance Scale for Children (SDSC) and a sleep diary completed by parents. Poor parental sleep quality, as indicated by higher Jenkin’s scores, was significantly associated with more frequently reported pediatric sleep disturbances on the SDSC (P < .001). The Jenkin’s score was not significantly associated with objective measures of pediatric sleep quality via actigraphy (P = .27 for sleep time and P = .07 for sleep efficiency). Only parental age was a significant background variable for predicting pediatric sleep disturbance: the number of disorders reported declined with increasing parental age. Once controlled for this cofounder, the original association remained significant.
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