To examine whether increased socioeconomic disadvantage, indexed using a measure of community distress, was associated with variation in caregiver-reported early childhood sleep patterns and problems in a large US sample using a mobile health application (app).
Data were collected using the free, publicly available Johnson's Bedtime© baby sleep app.
A total of 14,980 caregivers (85.1% mothers) of children ages 6-35.9 months (M = 13.88 months; 52.6% boys) participated in this study.
Caregivers reported on child sleep using the Brief Infant Sleep Questionnaire-Revised. Socioeconomic disadvantage was indexed by zip code using the Distressed Communities Index (DCI), which combines seven US census indicators of socioeconomic disadvantage. DCI scores range from prosperous (lowest quintile) to distressed (highest quintile).
Socioeconomic disadvantage was significantly associated with later bedtimes, longer sleep onset latency, and shorter nighttime and 24-hour (total) sleep duration, with children living in distressed communities showing the poorest sleep. However, caregivers living in distressed communities reported a significantly lower prevalence of overall child sleep problems (43% vs 58% in prosperous communities), and more confidence in managing child sleep (42% vs 34% in prosperous communities).
Children living in the most distressed communities have the poorest reported sleep patterns and bedtime behaviors; however, their caregivers are less likely to report problematic child sleep. These findings highlight the need for community-level sleep health promotion interventions, as well as further investigation of caregiver perceptions about child sleep and sleep health promotion among families living in socioeconomically disadvantaged contexts.
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Published online: March 04, 2021
Accepted: January 12, 2021
Received in revised form: January 5, 2021
Received: May 19, 2020
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