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The aim of this study was to investigate the direct relationship of sleep schedule and sleep quality variables between healthy preschool children and their parents, focusing on the influence of the difference in bedtime between each other.
Forty-seven Japanese 5-year-old children and their primary parent were studied. The parents completed questionnaires including the Epworth Sleepiness Scale and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. The children wore an actigraph for one week.
Although sleep patterns of children were generally independent of their parents, late sleep end time and bedtime of children were associated with parents' late sleep end time on weekends. For 87% of children and parents who shared a bedroom, sleep quality was negatively affected by a shorter difference in bedtimes between child and parent, but not by co-sleeping.
Sleep behaviours of parents can influence those of their children. For parents and children who share a bedroom, the timing of bedtime rather than co-sleeping may be a key factor in modulating sleep patterns. Trying to get children asleep and subsequently falling asleep at a similar time may disturb parents' sleep quality, which may subsequently affect that of their children.