The objective of the study was to determine whether associations between dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes about sleep and sleep disturbance are evident in children. Cross-sectional data were collected from 123 children aged 8–10 years (49% boys). The participants came from ethnically diverse backgrounds from two inner-city schools in London, UK. Children completed the Sleep Self-Report (SSR) and the Dysfunctional Beliefs and Attitudes about Sleep (DBAS) questionnaire (which was adapted for use with children). Parents completed the Child Sleep Habits Questionnaire (CSHQ). The total DBAS score was associated with sleep disturbances defined as total SSR score (β = 0.40, P < 0.001, r2 = 0.15), the SSR insomnia items (β = 0.29, P < 0.01, r2 = 0.08) and the total CSHQ score (β = 0.22, P < 0.05, r2 = 0.04). Some dysfunctional beliefs about sleep predicted sleep disturbance to a greater extent than others. For example, when controlling for the other DBAS subscales, the ‘control and predictability of sleep’ subscale, but not the ‘sleep requirements expectations’ subscale, predicted total SSR score and SSR insomnia items. Given this preliminary evidence that dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes about sleep appear to be associated with sleep difficulties in children, future work is needed to further developmentally adapt a version of the DBAS appropriate for use with children.